Before the 11th of July 2007, when the first iPhone started shipping, we didn’t have access to smart phones. Those devices which have been designed to make our life easier, more organised and connected. So how come sometimes I feel like we’d be better off without them?

We now have so many ways to connect; the old faithful email, Instant Messaging, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. And even better, not only do you have a smart phone in your pocket, giving you access to the world 24/7, you can now buy a watch that does the same thing.

So, on the beach, at the movies, in bed you’re never offline – if you’re like me, you find this a little depressing…

According to the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey (2016), 61% of us check our phones within 5 minutes of waking up.

Another study by ReportLinker found that 48% of Americans check their phones before they get out of bed. I know I do, however, only to check the weather – I love that weather app! 

But according to a recent Lifeline survey in Australia, 82.5% of people surveyed said that the feeling of loneliness is increasing in society. And that is despite having all these ways of keeping in touch and connecting with our family and friends. Simon Sinek recommends we remove our smartphones from our bedrooms and I agree with him, get them out of our bedrooms and get them out of our schools.

I am not a qualified psychologist; therefore, I’m going to bring this back to a subject I understand well; time management and task prioritisation.

One of the simplest solutions is to turn off most, if not all your alerts on your phone (and watch!). Interruptions negatively affect productivity, so if you’re constantly interrupted by alerts and messages then your performance will decrease.

One positive way to use your smart phone is when you have back-to-back meetings, a task to complete or a deadline to meet set your alarm on your phone to go off just before that deadline. Setting your alarm on your phone to warn you before you need to move onto the next task achieves a few things:

  • It allows you to be ‘present’, practice active listening, and focus on the job at hand because your mind is free from worrying about making that next meeting, deadline or whatever…
  • Gives you time to wrap up your task/meeting, and put actions against what you need to follow up on post-meeting
  • It means that you will not be late for your next task / meeting!

And when you are heading out to lunch or going to the gym try leaving that phone on your desk sometimes, or turn it off completely! If you can’t receive any messages for an hour whilst you’re working on that pitch, at the gym or having lunch with your partner then in my book you’ll be OK. And when you are ‘out and about’ have a look around, you might see something interesting that your normal ‘GlowFace’ misses. 

Thanks for listening and feel free to share, comment or contact me with any thoughts or questions that you have.