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How Addicted Are You To Your Cell Phone?

How Addicted Are You To Your Cell Phone?

The cell phone, in all its forms, is ubiquitous. There is no arguing that. But what if you can’t put your phone down? What if your phone has become an extension of your hand, in which nothing you do can go undocumented by your phone? The constant looming light of your cell phone screen following you around, lighting up your face like a glow stick as you attend concerts, go hiking or have dinner with friends. Technology is great and has been a progressive and inspiring force around the world. But when is it too much, and how do you know if you have a problem? Addiction is real and here are 10 clear signs that you need to put down the phone, step away and go get some fresh air.

1. You take your phone to the bathroom. And use it.

Bathroom time used to be a private experience; now many opt to bring their entire social life right in there with them. They text, chat and share pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Some even take selfies while peeing, or staring at themselves in the mirror. Some say this selfie-obsession is introducing a new rampant form of narcissism. Japanese designers, Panasonic and Fujitsu, have created water-proof, break-proof cell phones that allow users to take a shower with it, so they don’t miss a beat. It’s also protected just in case you drop it in the toilet. If this is you, you may want to try stepping away from your phone when nature calls. Try changing your time in the bathroom to one where you concentrate on your physical needs instead of clinging to a cell phone. Many people feel obligated to be near their phones all day, for work or family needs. If you’re not an on-call emergency doctor or firefighter, you likely have some leeway in your schedule.

maturana via Flickr

    2. You are sleeping with your phone.

    If your cellphone is the first thing you greet when you awake and the last thing you see before you fall asleep, there’s a problem. Cognitive therapist Dr. Suzanne Phillips notes on her post for PBS that sleeping with a cell phone has negative effects on users. She writes that, ”Texting as an addiction jeopardizes sleep, cognitive functioning and real relating–making dependence on it greater and greater.” If you can’t imagine waking up or falling asleep without something to read or look at, try challenging this pattern by replacing your phone with a book or magazine. You could also write in a journal. If you are coupled, talking to your partner as you fall asleep will offer more comfort and help in building your connection with the one you love. If you need distraction but live alone, you may want to create a playlist with music by instrumentalists like Deuter.

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    cheap eats via flickr

      3. Your phone has a place at the dinner table.

      If your phone plays center stage at meal time, it’s time to put down the phone. Many of us can’t help photographing the food we are about to ingest and it’s okay, every now and again, especially, if you are a chef or tried and true foodie. But consistently choosing your phone over friends and family when eating is a sign of a potential cell phone addiction. When you feel the need to check in on your social network, send a gratuitous text, or merely stare at your phone while you chew, try instead engaging with the person you are dining with. If alone, enjoy being present with your meal; maybe do some people-watching, read a book, or connect with the servers or the chefs that prepared your meal.

      YourDon via Flickr

        4. You are texting while walking.

        This spells disaster. Keep the texting for non-moving times. You are running into people or standing in the middle of the sidewalk as you attend to your phone. You are taking selfies when you should be focusing on getting to your location safely. Just as you wouldn’t drive and text (hopefully!), you shouldn’t text and walk. If you need to, step off to the side. The media have shown unfortunate examples of people texting and walking, unaware of their surroundings. One young woman fell onto the New York City Subway tracks, and got hit!

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        Photo by Josh Liba via Flickr

          5. You are hanging out with friends, and you are all busy with your phones.

          If hanging out consists of you and your friends sitting in the same room while you play on your cell phones, you are not really building a connection with your friends. The phone might not be huge, but it acts as a very big barrier, stealing your attention from the present moment.

          via news61.com date-annoy-annoying-uniterested-woman-man-fight-cell-phone-phone-busy-unattentive-not-paying-attention-woman-2v1cka5tzamcr9pveuqtxc

            6. You no longer apologize for checking your phone when you are out with someone.

            Sure, cell phones have allowed people to keep in touch and make plans with friends, but they have also transformed the dating scene, with many preferring to casually “hang out” and text, instead of creating a real relationship with another. In fact, it’s not entirely common to go on a date and sit in silence as your date fiddles with his phone, or both parties are busy chatting and texting with another person. And not even an apology is given. It’s rude, tacky and immature. If you are out with someone, particularly a potential lover, it’s important to take a break from your phone and get to know the person in front of you. If you’d rather be chatting with someone else, you shouldn’t be out on a date, nor do you deserve to be. Try challenging this bad habit with finding common ground, discussing interests, and engaging your date with intriguing questions or thoughts–minus the phone. You don’t need to text, Yelp, Instagram, Facebook or Tweet every movement, food particle eaten or sarcastic quip. Save the restaurant review until after your date.

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            wheres_my_cellphone via dialanerd.com

              7. If you forget your phone, you have a mini panic attack.

              This Disconnection Anxiety may seem exaggerated, but it’s very real to the person experiencing it. Studies have noted that most people are within three to five feet of their cell phones at any given time. The mere thought of not having it close by is enough to make some go off the deep end and into full-on rage mode. If your palms sweat, you feel anxious, nervous, agitated or in a hurry to get home, because you are without your phone for a few hours, you need to think about the affect the cellphone has on you and the power you’ve given it. You deserve an afternoon, or two, off. Enjoy a hearty meal, a walk in the park, time playing with your dog, seeing a film, talking with your neighbor or checking out books from the local library in place of your obsessive cell phone usage. If you find that you can’t quit your phone, for even a short while, consider reaching out to a counselor or therapist who can help you make sense of and put into perspective this intense urgency to be connected every waking moment.

              via Washington Times teens_s640x427

                8. Your phone has become a status symbol, that you regularly flaunt.

                Having a cell phone can get costly. Between downloading apps, music, monthly fees, and even texts, they can cost hundreds of dollars each month. Some phones are even going for $15,000, before monthly fees and other charges. Cell phones have become our modern era’s status symbol. If you not only obsessively use your phone, but use it to show your status in society, or if your phone has become a symbol of your personal worth, it’s time to adjust your idea of self-worth and importance. Remove the focus from the phone and back onto the things that truly matter, like the quality of your life and those you care for.

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                larrison via flickr

                  9. You are out in nature, checking your phone.

                  Hiking on a beautiful day, playing sports, enjoying a visit to a natural habitat, or time spent in nature demands your full attention. It’s not time to check your cell phone or show off what you’re doing, but take in the experience. This funny and introspective video by YouTube user Charlene deGuzman offers an outside perspective into how your cellphone addiction affects not only you, but also those around you.

                  large_4794889717 lordjim via flickr

                    10. You are texting and driving.

                    This is the most dangerous and troubling sign of an unhealthy relationship with your cell phone. Driving requires your focus for road safety. If you need to text or make a call, pull your car over and do so, when you are not in motion. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait. Many states and countries around the world heavily ticket drivers using their cell phones while driving, which means you’ll pay a big price for a single text. It’s not worth the risk to your well-being or wallet. For news on European, Australian and New Zealand distracted driving  laws, see their respective links.

                    Featured photo credit: PKMousie via flickr.com

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                    Last Updated on December 30, 2018

                    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                    No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

                    If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

                    But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

                    Let’s dive straight into the list…

                    1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

                      If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                      Download Rescue Time

                      2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

                        If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

                        Download Remember the Milk

                        3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

                          This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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                          Download Focus Booster

                          4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

                            This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

                            Download Toggl

                            5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

                              There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

                              Download Dropbox

                              6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                                Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                                Download Evernote

                                7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                                  Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                                  Download Mind42

                                  8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                                    This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                                    Download SnycBackFree

                                    9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                                      Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                      Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                                      10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                                        This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                        Download 1Password

                                        11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                                          When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                                          Download Pocket

                                          12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                                            This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                                            Download [email protected]

                                            13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                                              This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                                              Download Launchy

                                              14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                                This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                                Download Forest

                                                15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                                  This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                                  Download Trello

                                                  16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                                    Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                                    Download Wunderlist

                                                    17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                                      This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                      Download Time Tree

                                                      18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                                        Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                        Download Todoist

                                                        The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                        Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                                        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                                        More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                                        • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                                        • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                                        • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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