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Take Control Back Over Your Smartphone

Take Control Back Over Your Smartphone

People give lots of control to the devices around them, have you noticed that as well? Of course, there is the computer, your TV, perhaps a car. All of these have a lot of control over you and they can definitely change your mood. Still, there is one device that has probably more control over you than all of these things together. Yes, you guessed it correctly: your mobile or smartphone.

Is your smartphone in control?

Can you remember the time when you didn’t have a smartphone or even a mobile phone? How was that? Did you feel less stressed? Were you able to live a normal life? Could people reach you?

Studies show that many people go to bed and the bathroom with their mobile phone. My personal opinion is that when your house burns down, you’ll probably save your mobile phone over your cat. And you don’t even have a backup of your cat!

Have you seen the people who are walking with their children? Or the people who are on a family trip? How about those groups having a nice dinner together?

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What do many of them do?

That’s right, they check their email, social media status, the news, play games and all kinds of other stuff that is (of course) very important at the time. But when they look back, they’ll realize it is not really that important. Let’s be honest with each other. Most of the emails you receive are not really so valuable that they need your immediate attention. The news is kind of the same as weeks or months ago. Social media is nice, but who really has 2,000 close friends who tweet quotes and share pictures?

I am not against all of that. Still, a little bit of self control and valuing your time is in order.

How to take back control.

My point is, many people (you as well?) give a whole lot of power to a smart device. Perhaps the device makers and app makers are the really smart people. They get you hooked on using that little machine all day long and taking it everywhere you go. While you’re doing that, you miss out on so many beautiful things that are actually happening in the real world.

Have you ever thought about going for a day without using or longing for your mobile phone? I think many people can feel like they are going cold turkey when their smartphone crashes.

The moment you take control back, you will become much more productive. I am not saying you shouldn’t use your phone anymore (by the way, based on what we are really using it for, should we still call it a phone?) What I suggest is that you create a ‘relationship’ with your device in which you are the one in control. Create a situation where you use the tools, instead of you getting used by these tools.

Here are a couple of things you could — or perhaps should — do, starting right now.

Email:

Please, don’t do this on the device unless it is really important. If it isn’t, respond later on your computer. This will make your productivity go up as well because you will type faster on a computer than on a phone.

Also, make sure you don’t check email all the time or keep the online connection open all the time! I mean it, start right now by going offline! Check your email only twice a day when you really have to. This goes for both mobile and normal laptop email reading. You will be able to respond to more messages in less time by batching the email tasks.

Social Stuff:

Spend a lot less time on Twitter and Facebook. Let’s face it you don’t need to know what all the people on your list are doing, all the time. And become much more selective about what you share. Stop sending quotes of famous people — share your own experience and knowledge. Stop telling people you are having dinner or you are in the bathroom. Really? You need to share that stuff with thousands of people? I believe you are worth far more than that.

Voice (E)mails:

Don’t write anymore. Start dictating and send out voice messages, they take a lot less time to record. Then send them to people who really need to know the information, and keep them brief (less than 15 seconds would be great!).

Timers:

Use apps for timers on your phone. This is something that will help you become more productive. Also, it will help you use the device that may have cost you hundreds of euros or dollars for something useful.

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News Feeds:

Stop reading news sites and getting distracted by things you don’t need. Create your own news channels and read them. There are services you can use for this and they create a news stream that is just for you with the news you need or want. Focus on what is important, not on what is published.

Camera:

Use the phone camera to record settings or situations that give you a good feeling or motivate you. Capture notes or white board overviews and be done with it. And no, you don’t need to share that then with your Twitter friends!

When you do this, your phone becomes a productivity tool again. I believe my phone is made for that. I don’t want you to suffer from having a tool that drains your energy and robs you of being creative and productive.

Make your phone a real smartphone — except this time you are smarter because you know how to take control back.

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Enjoy!

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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