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10 Signs You’re Probably Addicted to Your Smartphone (and How to Fight Back)

10 Signs You’re Probably Addicted to Your Smartphone (and How to Fight Back)

You love your smartphone. It helps you get from point A to point B, it keeps your email readily accessible, and it helps you to stay connected to friends near and far. There’s no way something so awesome could be harmful, right?

Wrong.

Smartphone addiction is a real concern, especially as people become increasingly dependent on these gadgets to conduct daily activities. If you fear your devotion to your smartphone is bordering on addiction, here are 10 signs it might be time to seek help:

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1. You text people who are in the same room as you.

2. Your phone goes everywhere with you — even the bathroom.

3. You can’t recite any of your loved ones’ phone numbers from memory.

4. You sleep with your phone.

5. You don’t know how to turn your phone off.

6. Your self-esteem is tied to how many notifications you get.

7. You see more through the photo app on your phone than the eyes in your head.

8. You panic if your phone is out of sight.

9. You’d rather be late than arrive without your phone.

10. You can’t stop peeking at the screen, even during a movie or your favorite TV show.

What Smartphone Addiction Looks Like

Some of those signs may seem exaggerated or even silly, but they are real indicators that your dependence on your smartphone is reaching critical levels.

An addiction is characterized by an increased tolerance to something, so you need more to feel the same “high.” The instant feedback provided by smartphones is a pleasurable hit that drives us to constantly check our email or obsessively look up random facts. This pleasure-seeking behavior is indicative of an addiction; however, even though these habits might bug our friends and family, there is no real danger unless they are disruptive to your life.

That doesn’t mean a strong attachment to your smartphone is completely harmless. Difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, and increased anxiety — not to mention damage to interpersonal relationships and communication skills — have all been linked to smartphone overuse.

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How to Take Your Life Back

It’s easy to shrug off smartphone addiction as a silly overreaction, but if you identify with two or more of the signs listed above, you may want to consider cutting back.

Here are four easy ways to curb your smartphone use without having to go cold turkey:

1. Set Limits

Start by setting some guidelines to help you manage your usage. For example, you might make it a goal to wait one hour after waking up before reaching for your phone, or keep it turned off during dinner or your favorite show. It doesn’t matter how much time you designate as phone-free, as long as you designate some time.

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2. Let it Go

Do you feel like you have to immediately respond to every call, text, or email that comes your way? Try letting a call go to voicemail or leaving a text unread until you can give it your full attention. Gradually increase the number of times you wait until you’re truly available to respond. Eliminating these constant interruptions will ease tension, decrease anxiety, and enhance concentration and productivity.

3. Tune In to Your Feelings

Notice how you feel when you reach for your phone. Identifying your emotional state gives you a clue as to why you’re going for the phone. Are you bored, anxious, stressed out, or lonesome? Once you start to understand the feelings that lead you to lean on your smartphone, you can seek other ways to find relief.

4. Find a Substitute

Smartphones have become the number one self-soother out there. Identify other ways to provide comfort in situations where you tend to rely heavily on your phone. If you go to your phone when you feel bored or nervous, practice some mindfulness techniques that will help you tune in to your body and the world around you. This will help you to stay calm and connected to your surroundings, rather than using gadgets to disconnect and escape.

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Whether you’re ready for a complete digital detox or simply want to loosen the hold your smartphone has on you, it’s healthy to take an honest look at your dependence on technology and explore ways to unplug. Disengaging from that small screen, even a little bit, can help you experience a more fulfilling daily routine.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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