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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 September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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