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Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Take This Quiz To Find Out!

Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Take This Quiz To Find Out!

If you are addicted to your smartphone, you may well be suffering from nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia). That simply means you are scared of the thought of being without your smartphone. How will you stay in contact with your friends and other contacts, read emails, check on your kids, and so on? Panic begins to set in.

How do you know if you have this phobia and how severe is it? Researchers at Iowa State University were determined to find out. They came up with a very handy 20-question quiz. Just do the quiz here and scroll down to check your scores. If you score less than 20, you are not at all nomophobic. If you score over 100, then it may be time to admit you have a problem and may need a digital detox.

How serious is this problem?

Some experts believe that naming smartphone addiction and labelling it as a phobia is exaggerated. One of these critics is Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Santa Monica, California. He says, “[There’s] a lot of fear of technology, fear that [mobile devices are] going to hurt our youth, fear that we are not going to be able to keep up. And I think that it is all a bunch of crap.”

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However, there is plenty of research which shows that smartphone addiction is interfering with people’s lives. It is affecting their mental and physical health. The 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits Report reveals some pretty shocking statistics. The smartphone seems to be increasingly present (10%) in the bedroom, during sex and in the shower. The most alarming one is that 50% of people are using them while driving and managing to get away with it.

Talk about digital baggage! Studies show that you may get “text neck” from all that texting. Sleep is disturbed and one survey shows that 44% of people sleep with their smartphones next to them. The most alarming figure is that about two thirds of users are constantly checking their phones, even when it is not ringing or vibrating.

How to take a break from your smartphone

Smartphones are here to stay. They are a fabulous resource and they make life easier and more entertaining. But there is no need to become a zombie. Here are some practical steps you can take to make sure that you staying in touch with the real world and the people in it, especially if your score on the quiz puts you in the high-risk category. Here are 5 ways to help you break your habit.

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1. Turn off all non-essential notifications

When you are kept in the loop and get a buzz for every retweet, What’s App message, or Instagram like, then you are wasting a lot of time. Already, your social media is pulling you away from reality. Turn off all the notifications you do not really need.

2. Start talking again

Ever watched a family or group of friends in a restaurant where they are all on their smartphones and nobody is talking to each other or really connecting? Now that is sad! The only way to reconnect with the people that matter is to put your phone away and start communicating in the good old-fashioned way. Try face to face. It never needs a battery recharge.

3. Think about what is really going on

Try to reflect on why you are checking compulsively all the time. It could be anxiety, loneliness, or boredom. Why not try to address these issues and spend time more productively, by staying on task, reading a book, listening to music, or going for a walk (leaving the smartphone at home, of course).

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4. Remember: you don’t have to answer every call, beep, or message

The world will not end if you do not check your phone immediately, right? Again, you can turn off all these alerts if you cannot bear to turn your smartphone off altogether for a few hours. Ideally, we only need to check our phones a few times a day, but most people check their phones at least 35 times daily!

5. Use an app to cure your addiction

If you cannot apply any of the above four methods, there’s an app for that! It’s a bit ironic, but using fire to fight fire makes perfect sense when we have the technology. If you want a gentle nudge, StayOnTask (Android) is excellent because it simply asks you at random intervals whether you are still on task. Great for keeping focused and helping you to meet deadlines. BreakFree takes a tougher approach in that it tracks all your usage, from looking at the screen to your total usage every day. It can give you an addiction score and that is great for reaching any goals you have set. Offtime (iOS, Android) might appeal to you if you are addicted to Facebook, games, and emails. It can block all those but leave the channels open for any communication from the family, boss, or your significant other.

Now, where did I put my smartphone? Help!

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Featured photo credit: Keuls smartphone terras/ David van der Mark via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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