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Use Your Smart Phone to Save Time and Enjoy Life More

Use Your Smart Phone to Save Time and Enjoy Life More
Pat Dickson - Wed Aug 21, 2013 @ 11:14AM
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I remember reading about Bill Gates quitting Facebook because it was a time sink. In short, it took him too much time to manage all his social media friends. Gates sees technology as a means for saving time, not taking it away.

Computers, smart phones and social media should improve our lives and give us more freedom, not entrap us and devour our time.

Right after reading about Gates giving up Facebook, I started noticing how I and others were virtual slaves to our smart phones. Everywhere I looked, people were texting or talking on their cell phones. It didn't matter if they were walking, driving their cars, or even having dinner with friends. It was absurd.

I started seeing groups of people out to dinner, and they weren't talking to one another across the table. Instead they were engaged in cell phone conversations (or texting) with someone else that was somewhere else. I started seeing people on nature hikes, and what were they doing? Talking business or family affairs on their cell phones, or otherwise texting something I could not hear. I even watched a man cross the street without looking for cars. He was nearly killed, but luckily a non-texting driver had put on the brakes and come to a screeching halt in the nick of time!

I decided to start using my smart phone only when it helped make my life better, and not when it made my life worse. I wasn't going to be part of the madness! I refused to become one of the Borg!

So, I changed the way I used my cell phone, and ever since I've freed up a lot of time, and have been able to focus more on the things that mattered most.

With all this said, here is my smart phone make-your-life-better adage and Smart Phone 3 Steps to a Better Life Program.

"To the extent we use our smart phones to save time in our daily endeavors, we free up time to enjoy more of the things that make our lives worth living"

My Smart Phone 3-Steps to a Better Life Program:

  1. Put your smart phone away. If you are going to go to work, go into a restaurant to dine with friends or business associates, go to a party, or meet someone for a social event or activity, leave your smart phone at home or in your car. Remember the good old days when people couldn't call you on the phone unless you were home? Go back to that. At first, I had a lot of complaints from friends and family, but when I told them my new smart phone rules, they understood, and now some of them are doing the same! I can't tell you how much more fun my activities, dining out, and conversations have been since I've learned to put my smart phone, The Great Interruptor, in its proper place. My smart phone works for me. I don't work for it.
  2. Put your smart phone on silent. In my opinion, noise, beeps, buzzing, vibrations, etc., do nothing but distract us. We can only really perform one mental task at a time, and to suffer interruptions to whatever we are focusing on only impedes us. In fact, research shows these constant interruptions from our cell phones are making us dumb. Anecdotally, my work tasks, especially my financial accounting and writing endeavors, have really improved in efficiency, just because I've turned my smart phone's vibrators and noise makers off. When I'm interrupted, I lose my train of thought and waste time getting started again. Really, I think the trick to this tip is simply putting a stop to being distracted mid thought.
  3. Text instead of talk. Here is where I'm not being possibly too old school. I'm not being a retro guy who says talking on the phone is only fun if it is attached by a cord to a wall. Phone calls take a lot more time than texts. If you call a friend to ask them to dinner and the movies, it might take 30 minutes. It is only polite to catch up, and that takes time. Text a line "can you do dinner and the movies Monday at 6:00 pm?" and it just takes a second. Save the chatting for face to face at dinner, and leave your cell phones in the car! Texting also helps with work tasks. Sometimes you can save a lot of time by texting a long winded coworker a simple yes or no question, and if they have a long explanation, you can read it rather than listen to it. Texting can also be done outside of real time, unlike a phone conversation. Deal with your texts when you are taking a breather from focused activities. See how if you are texting you and others can follow my 3 Steps and still communicate effectivly and without interruptions to either of you?

I know this article will probably rub a few people the wrong way. They will say their jobs and their families require they be plugged in like a Borg. I agree there are cases when you simply need to be tied at the hip to your Smart Phone, but there are also a number of cases when you don't need to be a slave to your gadget.

You can make your Smart Phone work for you. You can use your technology to make your life better!

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