How Your Smartphone Habits Impact Your Productivity
1992 was the magical year when one piece of technology changed the way we operate to this day. IBM invented their Simon Personal Computer, releasing it two years later to the public. The brick-like device cost over $1,000 and had an hour’s worth of battery life. In 1994 the phone wasn’t capable of accessing email accounts, but it could receive a fax! Things got better in 2007 when Apple released its first iPhone for half the price. In 2020 the Google Pixel 4 drove smartphone prices up a couple of hundred of dollars with the release of features like their camera’s Night Sight mode. It is easy to see how the evolution in features makes the smartphone an addictive device. Like any addiction, it comes with a price—your time.
Many argue that so much of their work is mobile that they don’t see the difference between whether they work on a computer at a desk or via their phone. The problem becomes when your smartphone habits start to impact your productivity. Keep reading to find out what that looks like and what you can do to win back your level of productivity.
Smartphones interrupt concentration
Getting notifications from your phone consistently disrupts the flow of your day. Phones alert you when you receive a call, text, email, social media notification, and app updates. If all of your notifications are the same alert noise, this poses a problem as you have no way to know whether someone is trying to get ahold of you or if your fitness tracker wants to notify that you’ve met your steps for the day. Break the habit of reaching for your phone each chime it makes but shutting off notifications for miscellaneous apps. Pick out a different notification noise for text messages, emails, and phone calls. You’ll remember which goes to which knowing that a text from a friend can wait until after you’ve completed a task to respond to them.
Interactions with others diminish with smartphone addiction
Who would have thought that by the year 2020, your generation would define your preference of communication? Notre Dame of Maryland University explains that Millenials prefer text and messaging apps versus Baby Boomers still prefer speaking to one another face-to-face. Gen Z grew up with lightning-fast internet speeds and prefers to talk to others online more often than in person. Because of the varying preferences of communication, relationships with colleagues and clients can become disruptive if one party has an addiction to their smartphone. MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle says, “So, even something as simple as going to lunch and putting a cell phone on the table decreases the emotional importance of what people are willing to talk about.” The phone is adding insult to injury when used in conversations where it doesn’t need to be. After all is said and done, the next time you are out with work, leave the phone in your pocket or handbag on silent.
Time management apps have their drawbacks
Time management is something we’ve all struggled with at one point or another in life. Many find a solution by trial and error of how to get more things done in a day. Those who have problems putting down the phone to work may want to lean on time management and productivity apps. Experts don’t believe these kinds of apps can increase a person’s productivity. Melissa Gregg, a principal engineer at Intel and author of the book Counterproductive likes to point out that many of these apps make users feel like they are able to do more in a day. Gregg describes this as “the advice and pseudoscience of the time management of the 70s.” In other words, productivity apps that claim you will get more work done, is based on a self-help philosophy- not on any scientific research. These apps are useful for when you know you want to spend a certain amount of time on a task.
One app leads to another leads to more
Another issue with depending on a time management or productivity app is that they can be a slippery slope into spending hours on a phone versus the minute you initially needed to mark a task complete. Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, says that these types of apps can cause you to be less productive. Alpert explained to Business Insider, “Rarely do people go online or on their phones and stick to the intended reason for checking their phones. If they’re checking weather, that might then lead to checking email, messages, or reading a news story — all this serves as a gross distraction and impacts productivity.” Stay productive throughout the day and be diligent about when you use your phone and for what purpose. You may find that asking someone what the weather is more beneficial and productive even if the conversation runs long.
How to break your cell phone habits
Entrepreneur magazine offers advice on how to cut your phone addiction so you can get back to be productive:
- Delete the addictive apps off your phone. If that’s too radical, move them off the main screen or into a folder that’s out of sight.
- Use the app Moment to monitor your usage patterns.
- Put your phone on grey scale so you aren’t as enchanted by the colorful graphics.
- Use “airplane mode” or “do not disturb” to silence incoming distractions.
- Consider unplugging your router during nights or weekends.
- Downgrade to a smaller phone like the iPhone SE.
When all else fails, put your phone on silent during times where you know you need to focus the most. Create a schedule each day and dedicate a time where you can go on your phone to respond to calls or texts. After you’ve broken free of your smartphone addiction, go the extra mile and find out what else you can do throughout the day to increase your productivity with our Personal Productivity Course. With this online video course, you’ll learn strategies to increase your productivity and is ideal for the very busy student or professional that is looking for an edge through increased productivity. Click the link to learn more and start getting done more in one day than ever before!