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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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