“Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”
I had a pretty wild realization in the shower, recently. (Oh, the shower: the world’s best place to have an AHA moment.)
As I was lathering my hair, I thought of something I wanted to share with a friend on Marco Polo, a video-texting app. I thought, Gosh,I wish I could just send her a response right now — from the neck up, of course! That would save me some time.
And then it HIT me…
There are only TWO places I haven’t taken my phone with me:
1) the shower.
2) the ocean.
I realized that MOST of my day is spent with my phone in my hand or in an arm’s reach, and that I’m not the only one who treats it like it’s part of my body. At work, home and even out with friends or fam, it’s VERY rare to NOT have our phones out.
But here’s the thing:
“There’s a subconscious effect on the people around us when we have our phones, and we’re all guilty of this. What if I’m holding my phone — it’s not tweeting, it’s not buzzing, it’s not beeping and I’m not checking it. I’m simply holding my phone. Do you feel that you’re the most important thing to me right now? No, you do not,” said Simon Sinek at the 2015 School Administrators of Iowa Conference.
“When we show up to a meeting and we put our phones on the table, it says to the rest of the people in the room, ‘You’re not the most important thing to me right now.’ And by the way, putting your phone upside down is not more polite.”
Just the merepresence of our phone not only affects the way we connect with each other, but it also affects how we focus.
A 2017 study from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin found that when our smartphone is in reach — even if it’s turned off — our cognitive capacity is significantly reduced.
Adrian Ward and co-researchers tested nearly 800 people on how well they could complete computer tasks with smartphones nearby.
Participants were randomly asked to put their phones on silent, then place them either:
1) on the desk face down.
2) in their pocket/bag.
3) in another room.
Those with their phones in the other room performed significantly better than those with their phones on the desk, and slightly better than those who stashed it in their pocket/bag.
Researchers also found that it didn’t matter if the phone was on, off, face up or face down. Having a smartphone in proximity reduces our ability to focus and perform certain tasks. Why? Part of our brain is actively trying not to focus on the phone, and in the process of that, it’s draining our mental capacity.
Are you ready to shift your attention to those who matter most?
Are you ready to sharpen your focus and kick butt in your work?
Every single time I “amputate” my phone from my body and keep it out of sight, only good things happen.
I get my work done faster.
I’m more connected with David.
I’m more melted into the moment.
Ready to be more present at work? Here are some ideas:
- For one day, treat your phone like a cigarette: Only use it outside every few hours. See what happens.
- Put your phone on silent and put it in a drawer while you focus on a task. (I’ve started doing this in my home office and it’s amazing how less distracted I feel.)
- Create a cell phone basket, place it in another room and invite others to join you!
- If you must be on call, keep the ringer on, but put your phone behind your laptop/computer or in your bag in the meantime.
Ready to be more present at home? Here are some ideas:
- Leave your phone on the kitchen counter when you head to bed and use something else for an alarm. See how amazed you feel in the morning without reaching straight for your phone.
- While watching your favorite evening shows, keep your phone out of sight. (The hubs and I tried this last night, and we were really into the show and seemed to have more commentary about it. And during commercial breaks and bathroom breaks, we interacted more with each other.)
- When you get home, keep your phone in your bag or somewhere hidden and see how long you can go without it. You’ll be surprised…
- Don’t bring your phone into the bathroom! Did you know that 9 out of 10 people bring their phone into the loo? Look, there’s a reason that magazines and crossword puzzles exist. It gets boring in there. LOL! But if there’s one way to start practicing healthier boundaries with your phone and start activating the power of a wandering brain, the perfect place to start is on your bathroom breaks.
Your thoughts await you…