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Happy New Year to you and your family.

Tina and I were excited to see 2019 close the curtain and the dawning of a new year and a new decade.  Last year we had all the fun we could handle in one year.

What is Wealth?

According to merriam-webster.com Wealth is an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.

Resources, of course, can mean valuable resources yet what are resources?  Do they always mean money?  No, valuable resources also include our time, our health and our community and of course money.

Over the next four weeks, I am going to set out ideas for you in ways to make your life “wealthier”.

TIME

Look at that table… everyone is staring at their phones.”

That was what Tina said to me as we were dining out in December for our anniversary.  We went to The Mercury to remanence about the past years as this is where we met.   The Mercury was full of holiday celebrations, the food is amazing and you need to have the Grand Marnier souffle.

A table of four was sitting across from us. About halfway through our meal, my Tina leaned in and whispered, “Look over at that table… everyone is staring at their phones.” She was right… everyone at the table had their heads stuck in their phones.

The rise of the internet and smartphones has mostly been good. High-speed internet allows us to work from anywhere in the world. Thanks to Google, you can access practically any information 24/7.

The downside is many folks are hopelessly obsessed with tapping, typing, and swiping on their phones. Research from Harvard shows the average American touches their phone over 3,000 times daily. 3,000 times!… which works out to roughly four hours/day staring down at our screens. Think about it like this… that’s 28 hours/week we could spend doing something we “haven’t got the time for.”

We’ve become addicted to our phones—and it’s hurting our lives.

Smartphones are a black hole where “to-do lists” go to die. Research from the American Phycological Association (APA) shows we have limited “brainpower.” Said differently, our minds are like batteries—they can only perform a finite number of tasks before they need to be recharged.

Phones put the world at our fingertips. The next article or video is always just one click away. Each time we whip out our phones to check the news… the latest sports scores… or our Twitter feeds… we are “draining” our mental batteries.

Research from The Journal of Social Psychology found smartphones are also hurting our relationships. Researchers found when participants had their phones on them during a meal, it reduced their enjoyment during the time spent eating with family and friends. We may be able to connect with anyone in the world but across the table is difficult.

Are you an Addict?  

What would you say if someone said that to you?  You would probably be highly offended and think the person was certainly rude.

There’s a reason putting our phones down is so difficult. Did you ever hear of the chemical dopamine? Our brains produce dopamine to reward for us taking a bite of food… completing important work… or exercising. We get a little hit of dopamine when we do something “good,” which motivates us to repeat the tasks.

Research from Harvard Medical School shows companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat have engineered their platforms to give us bite-sized hits of dopamine. Every time we scroll, click, or swipe, our brains get a little “reward.”

Constantly being on my phone is something I struggled with in 2019. I hated how I would reflexively check my phone a dozen times an hour when spending time with my Tina or friends. I wasted whole evenings holding that “phone” and doing “important” stuff.

After our anniversary dinner, I made a conscious effort to turn off or put away my phone. This one change is harder than cutting out eating Tina’s Christmas cookies.  Yet even the small amount of time I have been cutting down time spent on the internet—has improved my life big time.

If I can suggest as we head into the new year… consider cutting down on time spent on the phone, computer, and internet.

There’s so much great information on the internet today, I felt like I was missing out if I wasn’t always absorbing as much as possible. But really, by constantly staring at or listening to my phone, I was often missing out on real life.

If you’ve felt this way, try putting down your phone in 2020. Do something “real” and be in the moment. Go for a walk… throw a ball with your dog… cook dinner for your family or a group of friends and have a bowl in the entryway for phones to be left.

I practically guarantee it’ll make you happier—it is for me!

How do I get started?

Give your phone/tablet/laptop/computer a “TIMEOUT”.  

Start with 30 minutes and see how that can turn into hours.  I challenge you to see if you can make 15 minutes!

I can promise you that if you only had the proverbial 24 hours left to live you would not be checking Facebook/Instagram/Twitter…………

Making the Roaring 20’s my best decade!

Next week we will look at how much health actually costs us.

Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Registered Principal | Tannery & Company

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