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Why Your Smartphone Is Holding You Hostage

The days of cheap flip phones are behind us, and it’s no surprise: because smartphones are pretty flippin’ neat. But did you know that they could be the beginning of your end along the way? It’s true: smartphones zap us of our creative thinking, ruin our recreational free time, ruin our sleep patterns, and make us useless the next day. Knowing this, check out some simple ways to avoid overusing your smartphone below:

Unplugging: The Healthy Way

According to Janelle Burley Hofmann, technology expert and author of the book iRules, getting “plugged in” with our phones is easy to do-- and, not surprisingly, most Americans end up doing it. "Technology has infiltrated our lives so fast,” she continues, to the point where we always seem to be doing it-- even during times when it’s meaningless. Think about it-- what do you do during the day to fill in your time gaps? You’re in line waiting to be checked out at the supermarket-- out comes your phone. There’s a momentary lull during work-- there it is, cleverly (at least you think) hidden under your desk. You’re at a stoplight, even-- and out of your pocket it comes, lighting and beeping for all the notifications you’ve missed since you checked it three lights ago.

Breaking the habit of needlessly having to check your phone every few seconds takes effort, she says, though it is worth it. By implementing the rules listed below into your everyday life, you're also showing your subordinates or your kids exactly what it means to live your life the way you want it-- rather than living it the way your beeping smartphone dictates:

Your bedroom is not where your phone goes. Hofmann suggests making a “designated charging station” that isn’t in your bedroom. But what if your kid’s got some sneaky, selfish excuse to turn the tables on your new rule? The best comeback for any cellphone use excuse involving needing it to wake up on time every day is simple: save up for an alarm clock then.

Conquer the fear. Admit it: there’s a sort of irrational fear you have when you aren’t able to check your phone at times that you’re used to. For such silly fears, it’s time to train yourself to overcome them: “leave your phone at home sometimes,” she continues, and learn to feel “safe and secure” with that choice. After all, it’s...just...a...phone! Realize how irrational your dependence on it often is, and make the change!

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