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Jul 29, 2009

Are You a Smartphone Junkie?

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You are probably familiar with those blackberry junkies that goes around staring at their phones, exchanging emails during meetings, family events, toilets (oops, who wrote that), gym, quality time with the spouse, with the lover (what the #%$!?), etc.

Well, Dr. Jim Taylor from MobilityDigest (a great site in which your humble servant is contributing to every now and then) just published another great article with some tips about things you shouldn't do with your smartphone.

In this great post, Dr. Jim Taylor asks few simple questions:

  • Do you take your smartphone with you wherever you go?
  • Is your smartphone the last thing you look at before you go to sleep and the first thing you look at when you wake up?
  • Do you make or take business calls regularly when away from work?
  • Do your family or friends give you exasperated looks when you pull out your smartphone constantly?

If like me, the answer to those questions is yes, YES, YESSSS and OH GOD STOP IT YESSSSSSS!!! Then I guess you are addicted.

I once composed a poll asking: Are you a Windows Mobile Addict-? and the results indicated the most of the readers were addicted that way or another. Cool, addiction is not always bad, but what about letting your smartphone hurt your performance and take control on your life? Not so cool any longer isn't it?

Here are 5 tips (copied from the original post - which I really urge you to read) that might help the smartphones junkie take back some control on their lives followed by the comments of one smartphone junkie...

Rule #1: Don’t look at your smartphone in the morning until you get to work. Peeking at your email or phone messages before you have dressed or had breakfast will create unnecessary distraction, worry, and stress. If you’re married with children, it will also prevent you from being engaged with your family during breakfast.

MobileSpoon's Comment: How can I not look at my smartphones when all 3 of them are staring at me at the morning, waiting for my gentle touch, some of them blinking with their red light indicating there is clearly something waiting for me to read?

Rule #2: Don’t look at your smartphone during the day unless you are ready to act on it. It’s not uncommon for businesspeople to look at their smartphones as they head into a meeting or just before a conference call. The primary consequence of doing this is that you will be distracted from your next task. You will be thinking about what you found on your smartphone instead of focusing on the task ahead.

MobileSpoon's Comment: This is so true, the distraction it can cause in the worst timing is huge. But the smartphones are chasing me! I hear noises everywhere! beeps! ringtones! when I try to set them off my body starts to vibrate!
They are  c-a-l-l-i-n-g   m-m-m-m-m-m-e-e-e-e-e ! ! ! !

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Rule #3: Turn off all smartphones during meetings. In fact, every company should have a “no smartphone” rule for all meetings. There are few things more irritating, distracting, and productivity-killing than having people at a meeting looking at and typing into their smartphones. They are clearly not paying attention to the meeting and, therefore, unable to contribute in any meaningful way. It also distracts others at the meeting.

MobileSpoon's Comment: OK, it's true that we are doing it, it's ugly, I admit, but unfortunately we haven't started it; it's the laptop junkies, they started it years ago, coming to meetings with their laptops while all the others were writing on paper based notebooks... I think this is where meetings completely lost their prestige and became a place where many people come to work on their laptops and also have some occasional conversations...

Rule #4: Don’t check your smartphone less than 30 minutes before you go to bed. If there are calls or emails you think you must respond to you, you will get to bed later and you’ll get riled up, so you’ll have a harder time falling asleep. The reality is that, in most cases, they can wait until morning, so best not to look. At worst, choose a time between 30 and 60 minutes before bedtime when you take a last look at your smartphone. At best, commit to not checking your smartphone at all in the evening.

MobileSpoon's Comment: Hmm... I'm not sure I got this one... I thought you said not to check my emails before going to sleep, but hey, I guess I was wrong... brrrr...

Rule #5: Don’t do your smartphone when you are doing life. In other words, don’t look at your smartphone if you are interacting with others, doing something that is supposed to clear your mind of work, such as exercise, meditation, having a meal, watching a movie, or hanging out with family or friends.. There is nothing more annoying to family and friends than to be with you when you are making business calls or responding to email—why are you even with them if you’re with them in body only? It’s okay to check your smartphone periodically, but ONLY IF you don’t interrupt more important life stuff and ONLY IF you are expecting something that you may have to act on quickly.

MobileSpoon's Comment: I agree. I hate it when my friends are playing with my smartphone when we are hanging out. I know my iPhone has some cool games, but come' on, you know the battery don't last long, don't dry it out...


Seriously speaking, I think I can add another tip to the good tips above: turn off your email synchronization. After all, emails are just like one endless chat with the entire world, business colleagues or friends. One of the oldest tips for better productivity in work is to turn off Outlook from time to time so you won't have to deal with those disturbing alerts - I think it's the same with smartphones.

SMS are OK, but when it comes to mailing activities 24/7 - you (we) are in a serious problem.

So therefore my tip for you is this:

Every once in a while, turn off the data synchronization in your smartphone. It will calm down the urge to constantly be aware of new messages, and will also reduce significantly the amount of cellular radiation your body absorbs from your smartphone...

Comments are always welcome!

Related posts:

Psychology of Technology- 5 Smartphone Rules to Live By

Seinfeld talking about BlackBerry owners

Are you a Windows Mobile Addict-?

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