The next time you're sitting in a waiting room, take a look around. You may notice that people are killing time on their smart phones, instead of flipping through a magazine or striking up a friendly conversation. Phones today do so much more than call people. Smart phones have become cameras, hand-held gaming devices, portable computers and - maybe least of all - a means of making a phone call.
If you own a smart phone, chances are you indulge in the extra features it has, including Internet access, text messages, GPS, social media applications and games from time to time, and why not - these apps are available to simplify your life.
Make sure that your smart phone remains a way to simplify and enhance your life rather than complicate it by keeping your smart phone use in check:
- Ignore your smart phone while driving - There are plenty of distractions behind the wheel without adding the smart phone. Keep your safety and the safety of your passengers and other commuters in mind, and realize that no text message or social media update is worth compromising that safety.
- Give face-to-face conversations priority over your smart phone - You may find it almost instinctive to pull out your smart phone during a lull in conversation or a long wait. Give your friends, family - especially your children - and even acquaintances the respect of putting your smart phone away and enjoying the company you're in.
- Focus on one thing at a time - Allow yourself to fully focus on work when it's time to work by putting your phone out of sight. You may find that you're more efficient and more focused on the task at hand.
- Allow only necessary alerts - If you are being distracted at home, work or while driving by gaming or social media updates, you may benefit from restricting notification settings.
- Use caution when "checking in" - Letting your friends and followers know where you are might be fun, but it may not always be safe. Use caution and always double check your privacy settings to limit who can see where you are.
- Use sleep mode - If you've ever drifted to sleep after a long day only to awaken at the sound of an alert from your phone, you might want to consider turning alerts off after a certain time each night. You can easily access this feature in the settings menu on most smart phones. If you're worried about missing an urgent call or text message, explore your options and let your friends and family know how to signal an important call, for example, call twice within five minutes or leave a voice mail if they need to reach you late at night.
You can take advantage of all of the technology at your fingertips as long as you are smart about your smart phone usage. Use it to help you get where you're going, stay in touch along the way and take pictures when you get there, but remember to also enjoy who you're with and the real world around you!