So you got a new smartphone, and it’s taking over your life? Well first of all, don’t panic – there are plenty of coping strategies, and your phone itself can help you to discover some of them.
One of the big problems you might face is the feeling of being ‘always on’, just like a broadband internet connection is.
Human beings are not really designed to be available 24 hours a day – unlike many of our modern-day gadgets, we actually need to switch off from time to time in order to catch up on sleep.
You can do this by making sure your phone is set to silent when it is time for you to go to sleep, so you don’t get disturbed by receiving any calls, alerts or online notifications.
Be honest with yourself – is there anything that is likely to happen via your smartphone in the middle of the night that couldn’t wait until morning?
Just a few years ago, people were totally unavailable to the outside world while they were asleep, and there’s no good reason why that should have changed, if you choose to switch off your phone when you go to bed.
Your phone might not be the only gadget you use on a daily basis, but it’s likely that it duplicates some of the functionality of those other devices.
If you’ve transferred your MP3 collection on to your phone, sell your unwanted iPod and you’ll be free of at least one gadget; you don’t have to have an iPhone in order to listen to music on a smartphone, as all the main handsets from the big manufacturers have good music playback capabilities.
Some may also integrate streaming radio services, giving you free access to tracks that you don’t actually own on CD or as digital downloads; just keep an eye on your data usage, as using your phone’s own mobile internet connection for these kinds of services can quickly eat into your allowance.
A good smartphone should be able to replace a digital camera too, not only in terms of taking the photos, but also by allowing you to assign them to any contacts who appear in the image – so that the next time that person calls you, your holiday snap of them flashes up on screen.
Perhaps the best way to manage your smartphone in order to prevent it from taking over your life is to install apps that give you even greater control over your phone.
You can get fun apps that prevent you from being able to send unwise text messages so easily late at night, when you might be feeling tired and emotional.
Others extend the functionality of your phone, and might even allow it to work as a remote control if you have a smart TV.
By carefully adapting your smartphone to suit your own real-life needs, you can avoid inadvertently adapting your own personality to suit your phone – and put the power back in your own hands.