Your smartphone is killing your productivity  

I love my iPhone, and I think we can’t deny the enormous impact smartphones have had on our culture and civilization.

Now we are starting to learn that there is also a “too much” side for this and that it can hurt our productivity as well as our rest, leaving us all in a state of mediocrity in our lives when not taking care of this.

Do you know the feeling of being focused on something, like a conversation, or a deeply focused task, and suddenly that focus is yanked away because somebody said your name in the other side of the room?

What about that feeling of your phone vibrating in your pocket, and when you reach out to grab it, it’s not even there?

It looks like we have grown to become attentive to our smartphones as much as hearing our own na.

If they are at an arms reach, your attention gravitates to it. If they vibrate, or their screen lights up, your brain feels the rush to know what happened. If they don’t, your mind will still send you the signal to check it every once in a while.

I know, this sounds completely crazy.

Lately, I’ve found myself being much more mindful of my relationship with my smartphone. I’ve had all my notifications turned off for years. I have zero apps on the screen, so none of them sing their siren song to me. But still, I would feel I gravitated too much to my phone.

Something worries me? Check the phone.
I don’t feel like doing something? Check the phone.
I’ve just checked the phone? Check the phone some more.

So now, when I get to my workspace, I lock my phone away with my bag. It’s not on the table, it’s not even in the same room. Bear with me, I know it sounds like crazy people talk here, and I promise: I’m not wearing a tin foil hat, but things now feel different.

I do engage with my phone during the day, but it’s something I decide to do, in the spaces I give myself to engage with it, rather than being the default “time killer and mind chiller” it was always for me. Now I’m free of focusing on the things that demand my attention, and I have truer “deep work” sessions during the day.

As a side effect, I find that now I don’t feel the need to engage as much on the phone, and that self-amplifying feedback loop of continually checking social networks, Whatsapp or email is slowly vanishing - as the dopamine hits are far and few between, the urge to get that dopamine is also fading down.

Now I’m so into it that I’m slowly single tasking into the rest of my life too. I tuck my phone in my backpack while commuting, and I put it to charge and airplane mode when I get home. It’s minimalistic productivity (as resting well it’s also productivity) at its best.

If you do this, I have no doubt you will feel you’re able to do much more, as you will be more mindful during your day and will be in control with calmness and attitude unfelt before. And if it’s too much to do this, why not trying to schedule some time away from your phone during your workday? Maybe 60 minutes when you start your day, or 30 minutes after lunch?

 
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