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7 Reasons Smartphones Make You Lazy

7 Reasons Smartphones Make You Lazy

A lot of people have suggested that we rely too much on our smartphones to do our thinking for us. I can’t really make an argument against them, can you?

Considering how many people rely on their phones, instead of their brains… I’m not surprised. People who are less analytic (but have a strong intuition) use their smartphones to “think” for them, reports this study.

Just how smartphones are making us mental couch potatoes… is something I’d like to find out. Let’s find out together!

1. GPS Degrades Memory

Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot did a study with her colleagues. Her team found that global positioning systems (GPS) reduces the hippocampus. Remember what the hippocampus is?

It’s the part of your brain that… well… remembers stuff.

Which makes sense, right? If you always have a machine telling you where to go, you’ll rarely get the chance to develop a “feel” for where you’re going. Mesmerizing signs and stop lights, what turns you took and where. Which landmarks to watch out for. That type of useful stuff that is crucial for remembering directions.

2. Ruin Our Multitasking

According to Today, a Stanford researcher Clifford Nass did a study; what he found was shocking:

Heavy multitaskers (people who watch TV, surf the web, and find the cure for cancer while gabbing away on their phones all at once) were less able than the average person to focus on a task.

Author Nicholas Carr went on to say this in his book, “The Glass Cage: Automation And Us.” He dives deep into our relationship with factory robots doing the work of humans, self-driving cars, computer glasses, and more.

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3. What To Do Next?

Let’s say, for example, that you accidentally drop your smartphone into the toilet. Whoops! Quick, what’s your first reaction?

…Take it out of course. But then what? Try to use it again?

Wrong! This is pure laziness. Chances are unless this has happened before, you never had the curiosity to look it up.

A “just in case” scenario. No fear – the smart thing to do first, to save your smartphone from a watery grave, would be to turn it off.

What you should do next is a tricky process, but it is doable.

4. They Do Things For Us

We’ve invented apps… That do this for us. An app like TaskRabbit can connect anyone with money to people who will clean your house, shop for you… even assemble new furniture.

A local help app Zaarly helps you find someone to bake a cake for you.

An app called FastCustomer will actually connect you with people… who will wait on customer service’s hold for you. Then get back in touch with you when waiting times are done.

I mean, really? Really? People in the world actually get paid to wait on hold? I can understand these services for executives or people who are busy developing apps that (gasp!) help the world. But, personally, for the life of me… I can’t understand how people can be so lazy.

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Such is the craze of the digital age.

5. Too Much Search Engine-ing

Let me ask you a question (and you can’t Google the answer! Respect the honor system). A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. So how much does the bat cost?

As CTVnews reports, the answer is 5 cents. At least, that’s what analytical thinkers would think.

The researchers who held this study then asked those same people about whether or not they owned a smartphone. The researchers then looked at the number of people who did own one and found something interesting.

People who use smartphones extensively scored lower on several tests.

6. Reduce Our Instinct

It’s our natural instinct to look up something – from regular questions and directions; even those we know already, buried somewhere deeply in our minds.

And, sadly, smartphones are ruining our instincts, as Real Simple points out.

They even acknowledge our addiction (or slavery?) to the devices and provide helpful tips on curbing the “need” for checking smartphones every ten minutes. There’s no messages, no emails, nothing – but still, you keep checking your smartphones.

Maybe it’s time for you to sell your smartphone and just be without it for some time. Or, hand-it-over to someone, rent it out (if someone is willing to take it) but just don’t throw it out with anger. It’s your buddy that comes handy when needed but it can become an addiction if used when unneeded.

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7. Children Are Prey

Smartphones aren’t all about you, are they? Sadly, children are prey, too. As it’s quite a common site (during an average day) to see at least one or two toddlers and preteens sporting smartphones. What’s the harm, right? It can’t be all that bad, can it? I mean, they’re going to get into the things sooner or later, aren’t they? Why not start them while they’re young! So they can become proficient “masters” when they’re teenagers and young adults.

Right? Right?

Wrong!

Here’s why:

96% of small children have used mobile devices and in two years (from ’11 to ’13) the number of children using smart devices leaped from 50% to more than 75%.

A 25% increase in two years. What’s worse than that? Real Simple broke the news that children (between 8 and 10 years old) spent more than seven hours on social media. (When they weren’t in school, that is.)

Seven. Hours. A. Day. On social media.

The study goes on to say that this “devotion” to social media stunts a lot of children’s emotional growth. How? Because they limit our face-to-face interactions. (Obviously, this is a no-brainer.)

“But what’s so bad about that,” some might say. “I sat in front of a screen all the time and I turned out just fine.”

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While, yes, it’s true most 20-somethings (myself included) spend most of our days and adolescence in front of screens… We also had friends, and knew how to talk to each other, and spent most nights not just curled up in front of our devices… but we were out in the world – being stupid, causing mayhem, disrupting sleeping neighbors, and teasing dogs. We basked in (though we didn’t know it at the time) the good ol’ days.

Children today, by way of screens, are being robbed of that experience. They’re spoiled, just like teens. My own nephew LOVES video games. If he doesn’t have a video game in his hand, he gets restless and starts acting like a caffeine-sensitive person gulping two cups of black coffee in a row.

He’s a bad case.

Was I like that? Sure! But not to that extent – and I definitely had other things to do. But that was then. I don’t want to become one of those “Why, back in my day…” old geezers, but it’s true! We didn’t have a lot of the stuff they do now.

And it’s slowly depriving children of… well… childhood.

So the biggest way smartphones make us mentally lazy, as parents and on-lookers and uncles and aunts, is by how we handle children: sitting them in front of a screen, and letting technology raise them.

Conclusion

For as much good that smartphones provide in the world… which in no way can be overestimated… there is a serious drawback that we, as thinkers of society, need to think twice about.

We don’t want to lose our superpower use of cognitive functions, do we? Otherwise… The next generation of kids won’t stand an intellectual chance, to help the human race evolve as a species. Our posterity as a collective humanity might just be at risk.

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Published on November 9, 2018

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

So, are you ready? Here we begin.

6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

1. Spreadsheets and Databases

Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Access
  • Statistics
  • Data Analytics
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Quickbooks
  • XML Database management system
  • Filemaker Pro
  • MATLAB
  • Hive
  • FORTRAN
  • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
  • SAS

2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Google Analytics
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Page Design
  • WordPress
  • Digital Media
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Campaign Management Software

3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • AutoCAD
  • CorelDRAW
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Maya
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Operating Digital Cameras

4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

  • HTML
  • C/C++
  • Java
  • Python
  • XML
  • UI/UX
  • LINUX
  • CISC and RISC architecture
  • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
  • Memory Management
  • PCB Layout
  • SQL

5. IT Troubleshooting

Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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  • Backup management
  • Diagnostics
  • End User support
  • Client-Server management
  • Installation and configuration
  • Issue tracking system (ITS)
  • System administration
  • Tech support

6. Enterprise Systems

Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

2. Rule the Social Media World

a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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4. Live and Breathe Creativity

a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

b. Canva Design School

From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

  • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
  • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
  • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
  • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
  • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
  • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
  • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

2. Work on Your Efficiency

Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

3. Look for Shortcuts

Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

4. Apply for an Internship

Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

The Bottom Line

Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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