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Are You Addicted To Your Phone?

The Smartphone Dilemma- A Lack of Focus with Constant Smartphone Use

Technological advancements and the use of gadgets in routine life has definitely made operations easier and smoother and improved the efficiency and effectiveness of things, but it has also brought forth a dilemma, one that has many adverse effects- the masses being glued to their smartphones checking their social media accounts.

As these social media platforms aged, their dark sides began to show. How many millions of people lose sleep, productivity, and time to the constant interruptions that happen every time a notification ding chirps out?

It is an addiction to millions of people, of that I am certain. Is it too far different than harmful drugs? I mean, both drug dealers and Zuckerberg call the people consuming their product “Users.”

Social media has taken the knowledge of propaganda learned through both World Wars, hundreds of small ones, the legacy media, and advertising and then combined it with the strategies you see in any casino to create an advanced channel that delivers a custom experience. These users get what they want to see, 24/7, without hearing the other side of the story. Together, this means that a persons belief system is becoming more extreme and rigid. A perfectly clear “Us” vs “Them” blinders where “They” are so obviously wrong all of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no Neo-Luddite. I *like* how technology has made things simpler and faster. I like Google Maps, I like email and instant messaging, I like to watch content on my schedule. What I mean to convey is that we need to realize that there is a downside to all of this and to not allow technology to rule over our lives.

Otherwise, we risk becoming slaves to it all. Humanity drowned out among a vast field of rings, beeps, chirps, vibrations, and blinking lights of almost meaningless distractions.

 

How Using Smartphones 24/7 Affects Your Focus

While smartphones have made communication a lot more convenient than before and have a wave of other benefits, allowing you to work while being mobile certainly is one. However, their constant use does impact your well-being negatively and in numerous ways. One of the most detrimental effects is having a distorted focus and concentration.

It is quite common to see people, especially those from the Generations Y and Z, glued to their phones at all times and even work on their routine tasks in that very ‘checked-out’ state. So if someone is cooking food, they are surfing the web too; or if someone is creating a project report, they are likely to pick up their phone time and again and scroll through the latest Facebook newsfeed.

What’s sad is that this behavior is labeled as multitasking and is deemed as a good time management hack. This means that you can mop the floor, cook a meal, watch a video on YouTube on your phone and respond to emails on that too simultaneously.

Wow, brilliant right?

Actually, this isn’t as amazing as it sounds. Research clearly shows that irrespective of age, very few (about 2%) can multitask efficiently and multitasking, especially doing things while using your phone, negatively affects your concentration to a great extent. While young people are better at multitasking than the elderly, nobody really multitasks amazingly well and no matter how well you multitask, you are always likely to make slip-ups along the way.

A study conducted by the Chukyo University, Japan showed that those who stayed hooked to their smartphones, particularly used the internet frequently take longer to find and recall information as compared to those who use it comparatively less.

This shows that when you are hooked to your smartphone’s screen and keep using it time and again to check your email, social media feeds and notifications, chat with friends, check your work or browse through the web for work or leisure, you do stress your ability to concentrate. It does become tougher for you to pay full attention to the task at hand and do it properly. This may be the reason why you added sugar instead of salt in a meal you are cooking or why your homework has more mistakes.

The inability to fully concentrate is the major side-effect that appears on the surface; there are many other issues that stem from this problem. When your concentration is compromised, you are prone to make more mistakes which affects your performance. Poor performance results in a low productivity which then affects your work and routine tasks, be those your household, personal or work-related chores. This then brings forth a massive wave of stress which leaves you feeling frustrated, agitated, disappointed and upset.

This stress if held on to and not taken care of on time, only adds to your problems and adversely impacts your physical, psychological and emotional well-being. This is one major reason why you feel chaotic, confused and disturbed most of the time and explains why you cannot do anything mindfully.

Naturally, when your concentration is constantly divided and you keep jumping from one task to another while showing complete allegiance to your smartphone, you cannot function to the best of your abilities. This is not just a theory, there are studies backing this. A study shows that constant Smartphone use increases stress levels in people by manifolds and another shows that it leads to panic, frustration and even feeling isolated.

This shows that the frequent (IE: constant) smartphone use is indeed a big dilemma and has spread its wings far and wide. Almost everyone is adversely affected by it and it is a massive reason why people cannot maximize their productivity and accelerate towards growth and their goals as they want to. That said, fortunately, this problem is one that can be resolved. You can put an end to this issue provided you stay true to this commitment. Let’s see how that can be done.

How to Manage the Constant Need to Use Your Phone

Here are some effective ways to manage the interruptions to your Pavlovian response to constantly keep a check on your social media newsfeed, emails every time you hear the bell or feel the vibration.

Take Short Tech Breaks: Instead of using your phone intermittently in between doing other tasks, take short tech or phone breaks after doing something for 20 minutes. Once you have worked on a task for a while, take a quick 1 to 5-minute break and quickly browse through your phone to check your emails, messages or social media notifications/ messages.

Stick to the Break Window: When you take a break to check your phone, make sure to stick to it. So if it is a 5 or 10-minute break, don’t breach the limit and force yourself to go back to your previous task obediently.

Hide Your Phone: When it is time to do an important task, hide away your phone, or better assign someone this task. Ask your partner or colleague to hide your phone so you can focus on the task at hand.

Remind Yourself of the Importance of the Task: Before starting off with a task, think about it for a few moments and focus primarily on its importance. Why are you doing it? What benefits will you gain from it? How does it help you out with a certain goal? Think along these lines and you will regain the motivation to work on it. At that point, say *‘I will do the task with complete focus only’* a few times out loud so you let go of your need to use phone simultaneously.

Bribe Yourself with Rewards: When you start a project or a routine task, think of a nice treat you will indulge in after completing it without using your smartphone. It can be anything nice such as watching your favorite show for 10 minutes or taking a 30-minute nap or eating a piece of cake. Rewards work well in luring you to do something important effectively.

Be Mindful of Your Thoughts and Actions: It is a thought that leads us to a certain action and then doing that action repeatedly that turns it into a habit. Keeping that in view, you need to be mindful of your thoughts when doing something so you manage the distracting ones that make you use your phone right away. Every time you think of using your phone, remind yourself of your task and if you pick up a phone, gently put it away. Do that a few times and you’ll break the bad habits.

These hacks observed consistently can help you keep your excessive cellphone usage in check so you do use it but only when needed without affecting your focus, productivity, and well-being.

1 comment

  1. Josh

    I kept a dumb phone as my personal phone until the summer of 2017 for several of these reasons. Finally, I was “forced” to upgrade to a smartphone because I receive more text messages than calls and many of them wouldn’t come through because of the emojis. Plus, it was a pain to text on when multiple messages came and you’d have to reopen your draft and hope another one didn’t arrive in the typing process.

    And, I needed mobile hotspot access because our home internet provider was flaky at the time.

    I did have a smartphone with my old job for about four years because I was on-call 24/5. The thing slept next to my pillow for four years. So when I quit that job, I was extra resistant to own a smartphone too. That resistance lasted two years!
    Josh recently posted…Should You Prepare for an Inflationary or Deflationary Financial Calamity?My Profile

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