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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 March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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