No question about it, smartphones (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc.) are amazing gadgets of advanced technology as well as incredibly useful and valuable tools … IF, and I stress, IF used properly. For example, I absolutely love my Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate Android smartphone from Verizon. But I’m also well aware that it’s ONLY a tool and totally up to me, the user, to manage it intelligently. It’s only as smart as I allow it to be and depending on how and when I use my smartphone, it can make me more productive or look and act like a complete fool.
Are YOU being smart with your smartphone? Is your smartphone helping to move you toward your highest priorities and goals or away from them? Are you controlling this technology or is it controlling you? Is it more of a novel distraction or useful business tool? Only you can decide … after all, a smartphone is only as smart as the user’s daily management.
Think about it … a smartphone is a powerful, mobile, pocket PC you can also use as a phone, camera, organizer/calendar, e-mail manager, GPS, music player, mini-TV/video viewer, web browser, instant messaging device, news source, and contact database, to name a few. And there are literally thousands of other personal productivity, business, and entertainment applications (apps). But user beware. There are also thousands of absolutely worthless and time-wasting apps.
Complicating the intelligent and strategic usage of a smartphone is that it’s truly mobile and omnipresent. Unlike a PC, a smartphone is generally always with you or around you … making it too easy and convenient to always check out the beckoning mini-screen or react to the “ping, ding or ring” of an alert notification. A potential source of addiction is literally attached to your hip, in your pocket, or in your purse.
Again, are you being smart with your smartphone (or your PC tablet for that matter)? It’s time to look in the mirror and take The Growth Coach Challenge – a simple 15-question test. You must face reality and assess how you are managing and using this tool. For your sake, please answer the following 15 questions with absolute honesty:
- Do you constantly access your smartphone in the presence of your spouse, kids, and co-workers and send the non-verbal message that they are “not as important” as what’s on that little screen?
- Are you using your smartphone while you are walking, eating, conversing or driving?
- Are more people familiar with the top of your forehead than the color of your eyes?
- Have your loved ones begged you to put that darn thing away at dinner or during other family-time activities?
- Would your peers and employees say you are abusing and misusing your smartphone?
- Is your smartphone a stress-relieving and comforting distraction keeping you from your real priorities and responsibilities?
- Are you addicted to your smartphone and unable to turn it off or set it aside for any significant length of time?
- Are you unable to spend a few hours of uninterrupted and quiet time each day focusing on your highest priorities and goals?
- Are you caught up in a purely reactive mode with your smartphone, immediately responding to any “ding, ping or ring” signifying an incoming email, call, alert, or message?
- Is it nearly impossible for you to have deep, focused, and meaningful conversations with others because of your smartphone?
- Are you wasting quality work hours searching for or playing with the next cool app?
- Are you wasting quality work hours endlessly browsing the web, checking scores, tracking news/stocks or weather or searching for answers to trivial matters?
- Have you lost a healthy work/life balance and proper work/life boundaries?
- Would your loved ones say you are addicted to your smartphone and use it excessively and have lost proper perspective?
- Are you wasting time on your smartphone dealing with the “trivial many” instead of thinking and acting like a leader and pursuing on the “vital few”?
If you answered “Yes” to a majority of the 15 questions above, be warned. You are not being very smart with your smartphone. You may well be exhibiting counterproductive and rude behavior and habits. Instead of being a master of technology, you may well be its slave and totally caught up in a reactive mode. For the sake of your company, peers, employees, family members and friends, revisit the 15 questions above and select 3 areas you will improve upon in the next 30 days.
Like any tool, it’s the user and his/her mindset and daily behavior (habits) that truly determine the real value and utility of any tool and the results that can be achieved. A smartphone is no different … you can use it effectively and productively or use it to waste incredible amounts of time. Used intelligently and with boundaries and purpose, a smartphone is a powerful and brilliant technology tool that can make you look, act, think, and even perform smarter.
BUT … if used incorrectly, this tool can make you look and act dumb. If you don’t believe this Growth Coach … get a good dose of reality and ask your family members or colleagues for their honest feedback on your smartphone management.
You see, if we don’t manage our smartphones intelligently and don’t put proper boundaries around when and how we use them, they’re no longer smartphones … agreed? Not that they’re dumbphones, but they can make us look and act dumb. If allowed, a smartphone can become a real distraction from your highest priorities and goals. See prior Growth Coach Blog on “Stop Chasing Shiny Objects”.
Again, be courageous enough to accept the truth … try to get smarter about using your smartphone. Pick three areas you will improve upon in the next 30 days.