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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 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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