Did you get the rule book on how to best text, tweet and multitask like an Octopus on crack? Yeah, neither did I. If your daily digital deluge leaves you feeling drained, you're not alone.
1. YOU TECH TOO MUCH
Texting and tinkering with mobile devices for more than one or two hours a day? A tech habit like that could send you to an early grave. You know how you get all hunchbacked over your device? Research says it can cause hyperkyphosis — better known as "dowager's hump" — a condition often associated with heart problems. Of course, just as soon as the report came out there were plenty of people disputing it, and clearly texting and driving is extremely hazardous to your health as well. Either way, the fix is the same.
The Fix: Take a break!
It can be easy to ignore the kink in your neck after an Angry Birds marathon or a long text conversation, but if you're serious about your health, you need to learn how to moderate your tech intake. And if you just can't shake your daily text addiction, hold your phone a bit higher so that your back is straight. It might feel funny at first, but your heart will thank you later.
2. THE NOT SO 'SMART' PHONE ALARM
We should all know by now how bad it is to use gadgets in the bedroom, and no, I'm not talking about the latest creepy selfie craze. Studies show nearly half the people who own a smartphone now use it as an alarm clock, and as a result our sleep patterns suffer. Neuroscientists say a smartphone in the bedroom can cause all kinds of anxiety and add to issues of insomnia, especially if it rings, dings or you wake up check it in the middle of the night.
The Fix: Put your phone to bed!
You wouldn't haul your work computer into bed with you — if you do, add that to the list of things you're doing wrong — so your smartphone needs to go night-night too. Turn your phone all the way off, and charge it overnight on your kitchen countertop or in your living room. If you've been using it as a waking device, invest in a simple alarm clock. The texts, tweets and Facebook updates can wait until morning, and you'll find that keeping your bedroom smartphone-free will help you achieve a full 40 winks.
3. CLEAN IT!
Your smartphone is geeee-ross. I'm not joking, it's really downright disgusting. Researchers say toilets and pet food dishes are have fewer germs than your fancy phone does, and every day it collects more debris from your daily routine. A recent study found strains of harmful bacteria were as much as 30 times heavier on household gadgets than on a toilet seat.
The Fix: Clean it up!
Just because it's a delicate electronic gadget doesn't mean a little cleaning will hurt. Mix a little bit of alcohol in water and wipe it down, or better yet, consider a smartphone case that cleans it for you. Nuevue makes antimicrobial smartphone and tablet sleeves that do the dirty work on their own.
4. AN ENDLESS SEARCH
People waste as much as 70 minutes a day surfing the Web for information, and if you find yourself filing through page after page of search results, you're definitely part of the problem.
The Fix: Search like a pro.
Use key words combined with quotation marks and other search tools to narrow down your results without tireless scrolling.
Want to keep certain pesky pages from showing up? Use the minus sign "-" for keeping them out. For example, if you were searching for information on the galaxy, and your search results are filled with Samsung Galaxy phones, simply search for: galaxy -phones.
Want only a specific sentence or phrase in your results? Put quotations marks around your search term to force Google to be more precise. It's that simple!
5. THE MULTITASKING MYTH
"But I'm an amazing multitasker!" you shout. Well, research shows that you might not be as good at it as you think. Experts say that even though we think we're great at doing a million things at once, all this multitasking means we make more mistakes, can't see what's right in front of us, have worse relationships, and are often quite a bit less productive than people who do one thing at a time. What's more, multitasking gets even harder as we age, which means we get worse and worse at it as time goes by.
The Fix: Focus.
You know that feeling of being "in the zone"? That's when you're at your most productive, and that's the feeling you should search for. If you're feeling scatterbrained, take a step back and identify what is keeping you from being at your peak mental efficiency. Eliminate those distractions — whether it's pesky text messages or social media updates — and you'll find you can knock out tasks in a fraction of the time.
The simple truth is this: Today's top tech should make your life easier, not more complicated. If you're using tech "right," you can actually feel more organized and energized than ever. What are some ways you think people are "using tech all wrong?" Be sure to let us know.