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Break Bad and Curb Your Addiction to Smartphones

Break Bad and Curb Your Addiction to Smartphones

We live in a generation that’s tech-crazy, tech-savvy, tech-hungry, and desperately distracted. The flip side of technology is its ability to blur the lines of reality. Case in point: Social Media is a viable alternative to real, personal interaction. It’s easier to build relationships online with people of various interests and social circles, guilt-free. The thing is, these relationships are somewhat disposable.

This can’t discredit the contributions of technology to awareness and connectivity, but there’s a disconnect when people start paying too much attention to 7-inch screens instead of the boundless world that’s literally in front of them. You’re guilty of this if you take too many selfies, using the beach or canyon as backdrop. Each minute you spend focusing on digital documentation is a minute lost savoring the moment.

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The Truth About Smartphones

Smartphones are practically downscaled computers, and many of the devices available nowadays will put the desktop computers of yesteryear to shame. Portability and mobility is a blessing and a curse, and if you can’t imagine yourself without your smartphone, not even for a few minutes, then it’s time to rethink your dependence. Nip the problem in the bud before it becomes an addiction. Here are solutions you should try out to wean yourself from your smartphone and your insatiable attachment to it.

1. Use it When You Need it

Decide to use your smartphone only when necessary, even if this is easier said than done. You just can’t have too many apps on your device, and there are even more available for download, including apps that’ll turn your smartphone into a digital Swiss knife. As it turns out, your decision will make all the difference. Restrict, or limit online activity to your laptop, a bulkier contraption people seldom use nowadays. At the very least, use your smartphone for its basic functions—making calls and sending messages, in case you’ve forgotten.

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2. Set Boundaries

Recover and maintain your boundaries. There’s a reason why phones are switched off on airplanes, at movie theaters, classrooms, and boardroom meetings. There are things that deserve priority, like your safety and everyone else’s personal space. Besides, people used to get by without all those on-the-go emails and online statuses, and it’s unlikely you’re missing something important for the next twenty minutes. Turn off your smartphone when necessary; you’re still on the grid, and everything will come rushing in when you come back.

3. Meals First, Socialization Second

Can you imagine a day when you tucked away your phone during dinner or during lunch? Some people even have the nerve to flip out their phones in the middle of an engaging dinner date. Dinners are meant for meals first, socialization second. You can tap-tap at the touch-screen to your heart’s content if you’re dining solo, or if you don’t mind your meal getting cold by the minute. However, do yourself and your companion a favor by tucking your phone away and focusing on the meal instead.

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4. Stop and Smell the Roses, Literally

When was the last time you spent time in the great outdoors, took a leisurely walk at the park, or watched children skating at a frozen lake? When was the last time you did these without bringing along a smartphone, tablet, laptop, even a digital camera? The great outdoors is best experienced raw and spontaneous, and it’s better if you only have the basic few tools to document the entire thing. Digital cameras can be necessities, so long as you focus on the experience and the documentation. The best thing about the outdoors is the absence of network signal, though, leaving you no choice but to sit on your hands the whole time.

5. Hold the Updates for Later

Don’t you just love social media sites? Most people do, anyway. Posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other sites establishes your online presence, to your real and online communities, but you’ll be amazed how these little indulgences sap your time and productivity. These are serious distractions if you steal a peek at updates every so often at work. Moreover, if you’re one of those who considers social media as a second life, a few minutes of indulgence easily stretches out to thirty minutes, to hours on end. Your community will thrive even if you don’t post-share that dancing cat video, the one you just can’t get enough of.

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6. Real People Got Game

Smartphones have downscaled interaction, and technology also did the same to gaming. Although you’re often part of a larger community when you’re in an online game, the connection is different compared to playing Monopoly or Uno with friends and family. Have you ever played Jenga online or on mobile? The virtual game is a dud compared to the actual game, isn’t it? Nothing beats the thrill of playing group games with real people, people you can actually reach out to and touch, fist-bump, and give high fives to.

7. Position Yourself Away From GPS

The convenience of GPS has become a necessity, and many are now dependent on this technology whenever they’re scouting the beaten and off-beat paths. It’s even easier to check out a store’s location online before you head out and visit the mall. These perks numb our sense of adventure, though. There’s a special thrill that comes when you’re lost in the wild. Besides, you’ll eventually find that shoe outlet, and you might even pass by the competition, find deals sweeter than you intended to pay for. GPS is helpful when your position on the planet is of the utmost importance, but unless you’re lost at sea or amidst a lush rain forest, then everything is just indulgence.

8. Don’t Text and Drive

There’s a running joke about seatbelts and helmets, these being invented to protect something that even dares to defy the odds by speeding and challenging the rules of physics. Using smartphones and electronic devices takes negligence to the next level, though. Sure, your car has cruise control and you know the routes like the back of your hand, but the vehicle and the driver behind, beside, and in front of you may not. If you really value your life and the lives of those with you, then you should drop the phone and take the steering wheel and gear shift seriously.

Of course, these are just suggestions to help you curb your addiction to smartphones. You’ll find other ways to curb your smartphone addiction, and it’ll dawn on you that the device isn’t as essential as you imagined. If you’re not convinced, take out your smartphone, grip it like a bar of soap, and consider if you’ve become dependent like it’s another limb, a third arm if you will. If you are, let it go and spend some actual “me” time, away from the distractions and trivialities of technology.

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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

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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