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16 Reasons to Reduce Your Mobile Dependence

16 Reasons to Reduce Your Mobile Dependence

In recent years, our reliance on our mobile devices has skyrocketed as an increasingly large number of applications are developed. Little pieces of our lives are outsourced to our smartphones in the name of efficiency and enhanced communication. Despite all of this, here are 16 reasons reduced mobile dependance can benefit your life.

1. To be engaged in conversation

You are never really present when your mind is anticipating the vibration or ping of an expected text message. Good conversation is found when two people are invested in the moment, devoting their time and attention to the other.

2. To create more than you consume

Mobile phones are more often a product of consumption rather than creation. Granted, there are exceptions for those rare individuals who produce stunning mobile photography or well-crafted written stories. However, the vast majority of casual creators are using our phones for intake. If we’re consuming, we aren’t creating. At some point, you need to break away and put all of that knowledge to use.

3. To relieve the mental burden

Reducing clutter–physical, spiritual, mental or otherwise–relieves a huge burden on your mind. Every item you get rid of is an item your mind doesn’t have to keep up with.

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4. To break your addiction

Have you ever noticed those people who pull out their phone, unlock it and tap through a few apps looking for notifications before locking it again? And then they do it all again a couple of minutes later. Though we might not recognize it, much of our society is addicted to their mobile phones. It’s no surprise–we turn to our devices for shopping, directions, communication and many other conveniences of life.

5. To find value in yourself

Texts, tweets, emails, likes…they have become a social currency putting a price on attention and worth. Breaking away from that will help you find value in yourself, not in your notifications.

6. To reduce distractions

Two hours of uninterrupted time is far more productive than three hours split up into six half-hour blocks throughout the day. Each time we have to re-begin our process, we have to find that flow all over again. This takes up valuable, creative time. Turning off the notifications cuts down on the amount of distractions and interruptions in our work period.

7. To free up more time

We spend approximately two hours on our mobile devices each day. If we cut that down to 30 minutes a day, we’re giving ourselves over 22 full days a year of time we could spend on projects. Of course, this obviously doesn’t apply if you’re a mobile phone technician or something.

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8. To be aware

Awareness has a lot more to do with your mental state than simply lifting your eyes off your screen, but getting your head up is a start. Being “in the moment” is often achieved simply be taking notice of your surroundings and being acutely aware of your senses. Take out the earbuds, turn off the notifications, and be present.

9. To strengthen your mind

It is incredible how much of our life references our mobile devices. When we need to solve a math problem, we pull out the calculator app. When we need to get directions, we pull out the map app. When we need to be entertained we pull up Facebook or Twitter or the latest mobile game craze. Limiting your interactions with your phone strengthens your mind by forcing you to tackle daily problems yourself. Math, directions, entertainment… join the DIY generation.

10. To reduce petty communication and force deep face-to-face interaction

Nothing replaces in-person interactions–not text, a phone call, or even Skype. Removing the digital barrier to interactions cultivates greater opportunity for face-to-face communication with others.

11. To separate work life from home life

Stories are rampant of the spouse who gets a phone call or email concerning work after he or she has left the office. Perhaps it interrupts dinner with your wife or a relaxing evening with your husband. The lines have been blurred, in large part, by the accessibility of colleagues after-hours. Managers know that a phone call or an email notification will catch the employee’s attention. By limiting mobile usage, you mute the accessibility and enact a very real boundary between work and home life.

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12. To reduce drama

I can’t tell you how often I have heard people complain or whine about the social media posts in their feed. But they don’t stop looking for more. Social media is a drama magnet, encouraging people to hash out controversial issues through a limited medium which often results in irritation, gossip or worse. Just stop going where the drama is.

13. To learn to love books again

Books hold a wonder that few, if any, mediums possess–the stories draw you in for a long-form journey that our short attention span culture does not seem to fully appreciate any more. Moving away from the screen gives you more incentive to re-discover the magic of a good book.

14. To strengthen your eyes

Though the facts are widespread, it is evident that long amounts of time in front of a screen can weaken your eyes. Be sure to catch some off-screen time when you can!

15. To lengthen your attention span

News alerts, 140-character tweets, 500-word blog posts and text messages have all contributed to the shortened attention span. We want soundbites now, which causes us to miss out on some of the long-form content. I recently read Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, and though I had to train myself to enjoy a story that took 90% of the book to set up, the ending was well worth the investment.

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16. To force you to think/plan ahead

What if you didn’t have a way to call if you broke down? What if you didn’t know how to reroute if you got lost? What if you weren’t able to Google something on the spot? I believe the ease and availability of the internet and smartphones has given way to a culture that doesn’t plan ahead anymore. Problems are often dealt with as they come up when, perhaps with a little forward-thinking, they could have been avoided in the first place.

Featured photo credit: photo/Wilfred Ivan via unsplash.imgix.net

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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