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Book Review: iDisorder – Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us

Book Review: iDisorder – Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us


    As someone who spends a lot of time on and with their iPhone, I’ve found that the times where I unplug and disconnect tend to be the moments where I’m actually the most connected with the task at hand. I’ve been in situations where i’m out with friends having a drink and they are all typing away on their smartphones, socializing with others that aren’t with them “in real life” rather than actually socializing the old-fashioned way. I’ve seen parents plunk their kids’ in front of the toys provided at coffee shops so they can engage with their phones – instead of with fellow patrons or the children they brought with them. I’ve seen the glow of cellphones on until the last possible moment in a movie theatre, showing that the users are waiting until the last possible moment to “untether” from their devices and escape into the film they’re about to watch.

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    In other words, I’ve seen iDisorder all over the place.

    In his book, “iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us”, Dr. Larry Rosen not only explores research (both pre-existing and his own), but also tries to give readers the resources to avoid falling prey to this type of behaviour – a type of behaviour that is sweeping the globe.

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    I’m pretty well-versed with the mobile landscape, and have a good sense of not only knowing when to put the phone away but also how to lead by example to my two young children. But not everyone does, and iDisorder is well worth reading for those not only having trouble finding that balance for themselves, but also for those who are parents and want to help their kids with any struggles they may be having. Rosen offers several suggestions in this regard, from adopting better sleeping habits to creating a better connection with family by disconnecting at dinner. We’ve gotten to the point where notifications are being treated as commands rather than alarms (something we can choose to respond to), and iDisorder is a book that brings that to light in a very precise and accessible manner.

    What is extremely helpful is that Rosen offers up end notes at the end of each chapter to help the reader break any bad habits they may have when it comes to the effects of iDisorder. Simply by following these, one can take steps to avoiding the problems that come with being connected all the time.

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    The book is a bit of a heavy read, and is best left for those who know they have a problem and want to take the steps needed to overcome it. It is loaded with research and tips, which can be overwhelming to many. I’d suggest that you ease into this book first and see where it takes you. Don’t expect it to cure all of the symptoms of iDisroder – “everything in moderation” is a good motto with which to approach this book.

    (And I’d further to suggest that you read the paper version of the book rather than the electronic version…for obvious reasons.)

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    Overall, iDisorder is an important book to have available to the public. As we find ourselves further immersed in being connected in a world that is teaming with information that can come at an instant – and non-stop instances at that – knowing when you’re too connected is key. iDisorder can help you break that pattern and disconnect from your devices.

    And that’s a very good – and important – thing.

    (Photo credit: Finger Touching Touch Screen via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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