Modern technology has made our lives easier. So many things are available at the touch of a screen now. We can chat with colleagues, purchase shoes and catch up on the daily news regardless of our location or the time of day. We are so much more productive now, right?
According to a number of knowledgeable experts, we are actually less productive. According to a 2016 CareerBuilder study, 55% of employers said mobile phones were the biggest productivity killers and 75% say two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted.
It is frankly pretty shocking how much time we spend on our phones every day. I’m sure you, like many, are pretty stunned when you see your screen time usage information. So how can we rein in our usage without going back to 1985?
Establish reasonable expectations around email response times.
I know you want to get back to that client right away, but is it really more important than what you are currently doing? When asked, most people don’t expect an immediate response, particularly if you have set their expectations. So, finish what you are doing then respond.
Turn off push notifications.
We are so accustomed to these that the idea of turning them off can be a bit daunting. But here’s the thing…every time you stop one task to take care of another, it takes at least a minute for you to refocus on what you were doing before. Are you thinking that doesn’t sound so bad? Keep in mind that on average we check our phones almost 100 times per work day. Add all that refocusing time up and you can spend 8 hours a week getting nothing done because you are switching back and forth between tasks.
Don’t take your phone to bed.
Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone charging in another room. Having your phone by your bed frequently cuts into our all too precious sleep hours. I know people who get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and wind up spending a half hour down a Facebook rabbit hole. If you can’t do this, at least set your phone so you don’t get any notifications during the night and only emergency calls from people you identify will get through.
Use a timer to blog your usage.
If setting limits isn’t working, it might be time to bring in outside help. Apps like AppDetox or Forest allows you to set boundaries and helps you enforce them by locking out your screen once you have reached your limit. It is a bold move, but one that could definitely help you cut back.