When you think of everything a smartphone can do, it probably comes as no surprise that many people rely heavily on their devices. Maybe you can relate to this.
Our phones have made our lives simpler. But on the other hand, too much reliance can also make us lazy thinkers. In other words, we forget to think for ourselves. This can happen to anyone, but there are ways to protect your brain.
Ditch the calculator
I remember my middle school math teacher discussing the importance of learning how to compute in our heads. In her words, “you won’t always have a calculator to help you.” As we know today, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Using a smartphone means you always have a calculator at your fingertips, which can be used for difficult and simple math calculations.
But while convenient, this also puts us at risk of losing some of our math skills. To illustrate, I once witnessed a person use a calculator to compute 20% of $20—a calculation that can easily be figured out without a calculator. At this point, I resolved to rely less on my cell phone’s calculator and use more of my brainpower.
Not to say you should never pull out a calculator. But the next time you need to figure out an equation, first see if you can do the match in your head. This will not only boost your math skills, it’ll also give your brain a healthy workout.
Stop relying on GPS for simple directions
When driving to an unfamiliar location, it only makes sense to use GPS. This way, you don’t risk getting lost and wasting time.
But while some people only use GPS when necessary, others use it every time they get behind the wheel—even when driving to a place they’ve been dozens of times. Rather than think for themselves and rely on their own memory, they would rather receive spoon fed directions. This can trigger lazy thinking. So if you know how to get to a location by memory, turn off the GPS.
Of course, some people also use GPS to determine the shortest route to a destination. Depending on traffic conditions, taking the shortest route might shave several minutes off your commute. This is understandable. But if you don’t need turn-by-turn directions after determining the shortest route, there’s no reason why you can’t turn off the GPS and use your own brainpower to get from point A to point B.
Don’t immediately look up information
Using the internet to look up information you already know can also make you a lazy thinker. This might happen when you’re discussing a topic and can’t quickly recall something you know.
If the information is on the tip of your tongue, instead of doing a quick Google search, dig a little deeper or think harder to see if you can remember the information.
Don’t rely too much on stored contact information
Before cell phones, most of us memorized our family and friends phone numbers. Nowadays, we program their numbers into our cell phones and don’t bother to remember these seven digits.
There are several people who I call on a regular basis, yet I wouldn’t be able to recall half of their phone numbers if caught in an emergency situation without my phone. You might be guilty of this, too. So rather than rely on your contacts or stored numbers, aim to memorize a few phone numbers so you’re never caught off guard.
Bottom line: Smartphones are useful, convenient and can make our lives easier, but don’t fall into a trap of relying too heavily on electronics. The more you use your cell phone for simple tasks, the greater the risk of becoming a lazy thinker.