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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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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