#522 To Sculpt or To Be Hacked?

< THAT Is the Question (Two Lists for Your Digital Optimizing)

Continuing our focus on how to conquer digital addiction, let’s talk about a super simple way to get a little more clarity on the trade-offs you might be making and create a little more motivation to rock it.

In The Distraction Addiction, Alex Pang tells us about a Professor named Jesse Fox who studies this stuff. She came up with a little exercise to help her students create the motivation necessary to actually change their behavior.

Here’s what she recommends. Super simple. Two steps.

Step #1: Make a list of all the things you’d LOVE to do if you *only* had the time. You want to get specific with what you’d do and how long it would take.

“Oh… If I only had the time, I’d do yoga three times a week.”

“I’d spend a half-an-hour a day reading those books on my shelf.”

“I’d spend more time riding my unicorns and swimming with my merpeople friends.”

Doesn’t matter what’s on your list. But, if you feel so inspired, create one! (btw: We’ll be hanging out with unicorns and mermaids soon so stay tuned. 🦄 🧜 )

So… What would YOU do if you only had more time? Make a list. Check it twice.

Then move on to…

Step #2: Track your time. Specifically, track all the time you spend engaged with media—in ALL its forms: from social media sites to apps (especially THAT app!) and news and email and games on your phone to TV, video games and blog reading and more email and news on your computer, etc., etc., etc.

Got it?

Now compare your media diary with that list of stuff you want to do.


If you’re a human being with a pulse and a smartphone/computer/email account, my hunch is you MIGHT have some pretty powerful insights when you do that exercise! 🤓

Finally, here’s a third step and perhaps the most important one: Step all the way back from your life and fast-forward to a world where you can observe yourself at 95.

Then, if you feel so inspired, contemplate what you hope to accomplish with this one precious life of yours…


Bring that perspective to your next engagement with technology. Ask yourself: Is this going to take me one step closer to that goal? Am I using technology to sculpt my ideal life or am I simply being an addicted user, hacked by the $7 TRILLION dollar attention economy?

To sculpt or to be hacked? THAT is the question.

Here’s to sculpting your best life, Optimizite!

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