Ever wonder what the impact is of slowly letting your smart phone do all those things you used to do back in the dark ages? You know, that unspeakable time when Crackberries, Treos and iPhones didn’t exist.
I never really thought about it until my phone ran out of juice the other day and, for the first time in a while, I was forced to do a bunch of the things my phone usually does…and I kind of stunk at them in a way I never did before smart phones came along.
I actually had to write down a simple list of items to buy…and I had trouble remembering them without referring back to the list multiple times. And, I’m fairly certain that, pre-Blackberry, I could have easily remembered them. Of course, I don’t know for sure because my memory of those days are a bit fuzzy. That got me wondering…
What happens to your brain when you transfer simple life-management tasks to your phone?
The four big items on my list include:
- To do items
- Telephone numbers and contact info (including my own)
- Schedule items
- Concept capture – recording ideas
Turns out, the human brain needs to be worked out to stay fit. And, while punching all these tasks into set it and forget it digital form may make managing a hectic life easier, in another way…
It may actually drain your brain long term.
Because the brain needs to be “exercised” or used on a daily basis in order to preserve optimal function. Similar to muscles in the body, certain processing abilities begin to literally atrophy with time if not engaged.
So, transferring much of these simple processing and memorization tasks away from the brain and into smartphones may actually have a backlash effect on your brain function. It may play a role in a longer term inability to effectively handle these functions without your hand-dandy smart phone at your side.
Relying too much on your smartphone may actually make you dumber…or at least temporarily dumb
Speaking to this phenomenon, a cottage industry of brain exercise programs has risen, letting you visit certain websites or even play brain games on the Nintendo DS as a way to stimulate the brain into becoming more active and preserving optimal function. These games are actually fun, though the jury is out on how effective they are.
But, for me, a different approach was in order.
I’ve taken to pulling back a bit on my reliance on technology as a replacement for thinking and remembering.
I’ve been writing things down by hand more, whether it’s a simple list or thoughts and ideas I’d like to revisit or explore more and committing to being more present as I do so. I’ve been taking the time to use certain memorization tools that stimulate, rather than turn off my brain. I’ve been spending more time in deliberate contemplation and problem solving.
And, while I still love the conversational ability my smartphone provides, I’ve been spending less time relying on it to as a replacement for my brain.
FYI – One of the brain-building factors that has been emerging in recent research is physical exercise, I’ll be writing about that in more detail very soon.
What about you?
Have you noticed any similar symptons of smartphone brain drain?
What have you explored as a fix?
And, most importantly…oh man, I forgot my last question!
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