Why Your Brain Needs Understimulation for Deep Focus and Motivation


Overstimulation from constant notifications, engaging apps and content is harming our ability to focus and stay motivated. Understimulation allows our prefrontal cortex, which governs executive functions, to operate optimally. Practical tips like planning distractions, removing apps/notifications, and bottom-up decision making can counteract attentional deficits.

Timestamped Highlights

😲 IQ drops 10 points just from having notifications on while working. Phones cause severe attention impairment after only 20 minutes per day.
🧠 Our attention controls our motivation via the prefrontal cortex. To stay motivated for a task, we must focus attention on it by clearing distractions.
📵 Adolescents with just 20 minutes of phone use daily still show significant attentional impairment. Keep devices away and notifications off.
📝 Writing by hand on Midnote screens helps visualize connections in scripts/thoughts, unblocking creative work.
😨 People avoid essential but unpleasant tasks because the very thought triggers dread. Planning ahead avoids this reaction.
⬆️⬇️ Bottom-up decision making counters procrastination by addressing current needs, not just habitual rules.
🎲 Complement boring work with energizing activities decided by dice instead of defaulting to numbing phone use.

Key Insights

Understanding motivation is tied to attention via prefrontal cortex activity helps sustain both for important tasks.
Near-constant stimulation from devices and content fights for limited working memory, harming IQ and focus significantly.
Avoiding dread around essential tasks via early planning helps override the brain's avoidance reaction.
Switching from auto-pilot procrastination to addressing current needs boosts motivation and energy.
Making small energizing changes based on body signals counters boredom better than default numbing habits.
Externalizing thoughts onto versatile software like Midnote enhances visualization and creativity.
Running towards growth means adopting practices for understimulation and deep focus.
This blog is a summary of a YouTube video "Deep Focus: Why Your Brain Needs Understimulation - YouTube" by Elizabeth Filips