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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

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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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