Want to Be Productive? Stop Checking Your Phone so Often

Perhaps you’ve read several books from productivity experts and are diligently applying the tips you’ve learned. However, despite those well-intentioned efforts, your productivity still isn’t at the preferred level. Wondering why? It could be that you need to stop checking your phone with such frequency.

Smartphones Could Provide Distractions During Meetings

Many people moan at the mere prospect of going to meetings. They think they could spend the time used during meetings in substantially more fruitful ways. Although that may be true, some get-togethers are unavoidable. A study from KDM Engineering reveals that although 70 percent of people know better than to have their phones out during meetings, 53 do it anyway.

If you stop checking your phone during meetings, business could be taken care of more efficiently. Even if people can’t see what’s on the screen, the glow it gives off could make fellow attendees lose focus.

Smartphones Take You Away From Other Tasks

The few seconds taken to check your smartphone could disrupt your flow of tasks. Research published by Deloitte in 2017 found the average American checks their smartphone 52 times per day.

The total could be significantly higher for some individuals when they’re at work. Going back to the KDM Engineering poll, it found 20 percent of people look at their phones at least once every 20 minutes while on the job.

No matter how often you do it, that action breaks your train of thought, which could make productivity plummet. If you’re not as productive as you think at work, think about setting goals for checking your phone less often and see if your performance improves.

An Accessible Phone Reduces Cognitive Capacity

Your available cognitive capacity is a representation of how well the brain can store and process information simultaneously at a given time. No matter what you’re doing, staying productive requires brainpower.

Interestingly, researchers found that keeping smartphones within reach cut down on cognitive capacity — even when the gadgets were in silent mode. When people could grab their smartphones, such as by taking them from pockets or bags, they performed worse than when the devices were in different rooms.

The scientists concluded when phones are close, people use excessive brainpower to mandate themselves to not think about them. When the phones stay elsewhere, individuals find it easier to ignore them and give more attention to other things.

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How to Keep Your Phone From Depleting Your Productivity Power

It should be obvious now that if you stop checking your phone, you could get more done. Here are a few strategies to help:

1. Use a Specialty App

If you have an iPhone running iOS 12, it’s worth checking out the Screen Time features and seeing how they could limit your phone use. For example, Downtime shuts down your phone for a specified period except for incoming calls or activity from apps you permit. Are you a Facebook addict? The App Settings functions are perfect for you. They limit usage based on your specifications.

You might already use some other productivity-boosting apps, and that’s great. Consider altering your typical usage patterns by relying on Screen Time too. Don’t have an iPhone? Try Flipd, an app for iOS and Android that encourages you to spend time offline and experience what you’ve been missing. It has two phone lock functions and allows you to categorize time spent to keep a record of it.

2. Set a Timer and Only Check the Phone When It Rings

Many people check their phones almost compulsively because they’re afraid they’ll miss urgent emails or texts. However, the reality is that if a person can’t give you at least an hour to respond, that’s likely a problem on their part. Try breaking your bad habit by recognizing that your phone is a trigger that leads to productivity loss. Buy a cheap kitchen timer and set it for an hour.

Then, let yourself check your phone when it rings. Repeat the process throughout any period when you want to harness productivity.

3. Be More Intentional About Your Phone Use

Phone checking is often engaged in to beat boredom. Maybe you’ve done it while using public transit or waiting for your dog to finish at the grooming facility. However, there are numerous reasons why you should only use your phone for more purposeful things. In other words, become more intentional with it. By doing that, you’ll likely start recognizing that your phone pulls you away from more important ways to engage.

Sticking to the Goal Should Cause Higher Output

Committing to stop checking your phone so often won’t be easy. However, being successful will make you a more productive person, and that makes it all worth it.

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Originally published at Productivity Theory.