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What Can You Do With An Almost Obsolete Phone?

What Can You Do With An Almost Obsolete Phone?

    Now that you’ve got that brand new iPhone, you’re probably trying to decide just what you should do with your old phone. It used to be that your only choice was sending it off to the nearest landfill, but that’s now technically illegal in most cities. You do have plenty of options now, though. Some will make you feel good and some will make your pocket book feel good. A few may even do a little of both. It’s just a matter of finding which one you prefer.

    The Feel Good Options

    You actually have a number of opportunities to donate your phone, if you’re so inclined. Domestic abuse shelters generally have standing request for cell phones — just drop it off at the local center in your town. Cell Phones for Soldiers also collects used phones for soldiers currently serving overseas. Many schools and community organizations will collect cell phones along with other supplies (blankets, clothing, food, etc.) in the event of a natural disaster.

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    If these charities don’t appeal to you, CollectiveGood maintains a list of organizations that accept donations of used cell phones, as well as handles the donations process for those organizations. Some require you to pay shipping; some don’t.

    As long as you are donating your phone to a non-profit organization, you can deduct the value of your cell phone on your taxes come next April. Make sure that you get a receipt listing the value of the phone — and if it’s used, that value will be significantly less than what you paid for it — just in case the nice folks down at the IRS want to doublecheck your deductions.

    If you just want to get the darn thing gone, you can also just give it away. Freecycle is a popular option — you can post your phone on your local group no matter its condition. If someone can use it, it’s gone almost immediately. Remember, though, most official donation programs promise to wipe all of your data from your phone. Freecycling your phone leaves protecting your personal information up to you.

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    The Financially Pleasant Options

    Is your phone in decent shape? You may have a shot at selling it. eBay remains a favorite sales option, but it isn’t the only one. If you can sell it locally, you may be able to avoid fees and postage. Beyond Craigslist, you might try Facebook’s Marketplace or check if your work or school maintains a swap board of some sort. Just make sure that you clear off all your personal information before you hand your phone over to its new owner.

    With the exception of practically new phones in high demand, the odds of getting anywhere near what you paid for it are slim. Cell phones and other electronic gadgets are like cars: once they leave their packaging, they depreciate pretty fast. If there is a newer, cheaper version out, you may just have to settle for a lower price.

    You can also choose to sell your phone to a reseller. There are a number of companies that will buy your phone for fairly close to market value and then turn around and resell it. You won’t get top dollar, but you won’t have to worry about actually finding a buyer, either. Gazelle is one option and Flipswap is another. Both of these resellers have feel good options: you can donate the payment you might receive for your phone to charity.

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    The Get It Gone Options

    Many cell phone sellers offer electronic recycling programs. Some are contingent on your buying a new phone from the seller in question, although Best Buy has a pilot program accepting old gadgets in eight states — you can find a list of participating stores here.

    If you want to make your cell phone recycling process super easy, ask the salesman when you pick up your new phone. As long as the store has some kind of recycling or donation program going on, leave it in his capable hands. Congratulations! Your phone is gone and you didn’t have to drive all over town to find it a new home.

    If Your Phone Has Gone to the Charging Station in the Sky…

    These options may not work for you. Most of these organizations don’t take phones (or other gadgets) that no longer work. Some, like Gazelle, will still take your electronic waste off your hands, but they won’t pay you for it. You can still get that feel good vibe, though, by recycling your phone, rather than throwing it away. You can either mail it in, or take it to a local program — not all municipalities have e-waste recycling programs, but the number is steadily growing. Both Gazelle and Flipswap will take dead phones, although you won’t get a payout from them.

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    One Last Note

    If you have gadgets to get rid of beyond a cell phone, you can still use most of these options. Laptops, cameras, MP3 players, camcorders, portable hard drives — whatever you’ve got, there are options to get rid of it when you decide to upgrade. Just like cell phones, though, you can’t throw any of these gadgets in the trash. They contain a variety of chemicals that won’t biodegrade in a landfill. In many cities, you can face fines if you’re caught dumping electronic waste. Even if you aren’t caught, isn’t it preferable to let someone else get a little more use out of it?

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    Last Updated on September 10, 2019

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

    By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

    Effective Prioritization

    There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

    Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

    The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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    Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

    Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

    If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

    Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

    My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

    I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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    Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

    But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

    The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

    I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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    That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

    You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

    My point is:

    The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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    What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

    And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

    If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

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    Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

    Reference

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