by Carl Massy.
Anyway, the round-about point I was trying to make is I am glad I grew up in a time where there was a ‘before mobile phone’ period where we learned other ways to amuse ourselves, other ways to communicate and other ways to organize meet-ups with fellow backpackers when traveling the globe.
We would actually have plans like this: “Let’s meet up on the number 1 platform at the Prague main train station, on the 25th of June, between 10am and 1pm. If you don’t make it on that day, we will meet between 10am and 1pm on the 26th. If we still don’t meet up, then I will see you when I do.”
There were no conversations like: ‘Text me when you are 30 mins from the station.’
I know there are a lot of great things about smartphones, but there are some serious downsides, that are seriously messing with peoples productivity, effectiveness, stress levels and overly agitated minds. And I am not even going to get into ‘addiction’ arena and the more serious symptoms associated with that.
Let’s keep this practical and somewhat FUN…but I am sure to piss off some people along the way, so I apologize in advance. They are suggestions to enhance the quality of your life. I share because I care – about you.
Number 1 Way to be Smarter than your Smartphone: Who’s the boss?
You are. You are the boss of you.
Not your phone, and not the people that are sending you “urgent” messages.
First thing is for YOU to be the boss, and therefore IN CONTROL of your smartphone.
You decide when it talks, or beeps or buzzes, or vies for your attention.
Here is how you do that:
- YOU decide when it is ON or OFF.
- YOU decide when it is on FLIGHT MODE.
- YOU decide when the data is ON or OFF.
- YOU decide when you will respond to messages.
- YOU decide whether it stays in your bag or is put on the table.
YOU are the BOSS of your life, and the smartphone is just a TOOL for you to use at your discretion to enhance the quality of your life, to achieve your big dreams, to help coordinate your adventures, and to stay connected in a meaningful way with the people that matter most to you.
So BOSS let’s see what else I have to share.
Number 2 Way to be Smarter than your Smartphone: Don’t let it start your dayThis tip is practical and also psychological.
If I don’t want my smartphone to control my life, I sure as heck don’t want it to be the first thing that interrupts my sleep in the morning.
Time to buy an alarm clock.
The main reason I encourage my clients to do this is because most people have the tendency, if they have their smartphone by their bedside, to ‘check it’ for messages on awakening. And on making that decision, it becomes people and things external to themselves that take control of their life. For mental happiness, we need to feel we have autonomy in our lives. Being controlled by things outside of ourselves, takes this basic human need away.
Start your day with a focus on self-care, before you take care of the needs of others. And yes, this is basic airplane drills when it comes to oxygen masks – put yours on first and then help others. Start your day with some meditation, or contemplation, or a walk, or something healthy for your body and mind.
Please…BUY AN ALARM CLOCK in order to remove a strong temptation to check your smartphone.
I study productivity. I read books on neuroscience and all manner of psychology. So here is what I know.
- Multi-tasking reduces the efficiency and accuracy of each singular task.
- Every time our attention is diverted, it takes time and energy for our brains to become refocused on the original task.
- It is stressful for the brain and nervous system to be interrupted when you are focused on a task (it might be a minor or major ‘fright’ that you get and the nervous system reacts accordingly…which is the opposite of calm and bliss).
- You are much more creative, innovative and productive if you work on a task without external interruptions.
When you are working on something important, put your smartphone onto FLIGHT MODE.
Block out quality time, free from interruptions and your productivity will go up significantly. I believe an important skill to master in life is how to achieve more of what you want, with less time, energy, effort and financial outlay. Would that be of interest?
Increase your productivity by activating the FLIGHT MODE function.
Number 4 Way to be Smarter than your Smartphone: No surprises here
I want you to WIN at this game called life. To do so, you need to increase the level and quality of your consciousness. Your ability to be aware internally and externally, so you can make the most informed and effective choices in each moment. Better choices = better results.
Consciousness requires you to be in the present moment. Aware of your internal environment and external environment.
As soon as you direct your attention into your smartphone, you are losing connection to your immediate external environment, and quite possibly your internal environment.
This might mean at a lower level that you stumble on the sidewalk or worst case get run over by a bus. Ooops. Did I go to far?!?!
Thus my recommendation for you is that you create a safe environment for yourself before you decide to put your consciousness and attention into your smartphone.
DON’T DRIVE CARS OR RIDE MOTORBIKES AND TEXT!!!!
This is my community announcement message (through a loud-hailer and from on top of a soap box). I am often in Bali riding my motorbike and the person weaving in front of me is sending a text message. This is insanity!! Plus a trifle bothersome to me. And when they are doing it at night, where their night vision is deteriorated by looking at the screen, it is whatever word is 8 times stronger than ‘insanity’.
You know this. Be nice to yourself and others and stay conscious.
Number 5 Way to be Smarter than your Smartphone: This challenge is only for those that want to be high achievers
This might be too much for most people.
Not for the faint-of-heart.
Are you ready for the challenge??????????
Here it is…
No. It might be too much. Maybe you shouldn’t look, after all.
Just skip to the end.
But for the brave-hearted. Here is the challenge…
Only turn DATA on your phone when you specifically need it, and then turn it OFF.
Yes. OFF. I told you it would not be easy. It will test your greatest FOMO instincts.
Only the bold will survive.
Here is the reason…
Billion-dollar companies are dependent on your attachment to their social media products, so they spend millions of dollars perfecting just how they can do this. One of the ways is that you cannot turn then off (or is it a pain in the arse). For example Messenger, Whatsapp, and a number of others I have no clue about because I am ‘old’. So they beep and buzz and flash to get your attention and pull you out of consciousness.
YOU can choose when it is most convenient to check messages by turning your data ON and then turning it OFF after you have taken care of the important stuff.
And because the phone is still on, you can still receive SMS and phone calls for anything that might be more urgent.
Here’s the thing. IF SOMEONE IS TOO TIGHT-ARSED TO SPEND MONEY ON AN SMS OR PHONE CALL THEN IT SURE AS HECK IS NOT IMPORTANT OR URGENT, so you can deal with their Whatsapp message (or drama) when YOU are good and ready.
You can finally take back the control of your life.(PS: I also recommend not linking emails to your smartphone if you are within 6-24 hrs access to your computer)
I could have got pretty heavy on the smartphone thing, as it is definitely creating some major social concerns and individual health-related symptoms, but I decided to keep this practical.
This was about reducing stress (by creating less distraction) and increasing productivity (by creating less distraction).
The smartphone is an incredible TOOL for our modern lives, and used intelligently, it has the ability to enhance the quality of our lives. But used unconsciously, it has the potential to take people off the path, and mean they are not achieving as much as they are capable of.
So stay smarter than your smartphone (or if it has been out-smarting you of late, it is time to decide who is the BOSS).
That would be YOU.
Have a super AWESOME day and week!!
PS: I look forward to seeing some of you in BERLIN from 1-3 June 2018 (and bring your friends).