Do you find yourself constantly distracted by your smart phone at work?
Are you looking for a simple technique to help you concentrate on your work and get things done?
While smart phones and cell phones are useful tools in today’s on-the-go world, they can also be highly problematic.
From pinging alerts, status updates, non-stop news feeds, text messages, games, and old-fashioned phone calls, your smart phone can be a veritable distraction!
This is exactly why it is important to consider the impact your smart phone has on your work and productivity levels.
In this post, I offer some helpful pointers as to why you may want to turn your phone off while you work.
If you really want to take back more of your work time for yourself, you should strongly consider turning off your phone while you work, if only for a brief period of time.
You may be pleasantly surprised at what you can accomplish when you’re able to work without constant distractions from your smart phone.
Reasons to Turn Your Phone Off
We all know it’s a good idea to work on tasks and projects without being constantly distracted.
But have you ever considered how many times a day you’re distracted by your very own smart phone or cell phone?
Unlike traditional telephones, smart phones are capable of much more when it comes to communicating and interacting with the world around us.
Smart phones allow us to surf the web, watch movies, chat with friends, play games, buy products, write messages, research information, take surveys…and the list goes on and on!
Sadly, that barely scratches the surface of the world of the smart phone.
Don’t forget there’s push-notifications, status updates, system alerts, and other types of intrusive communication.
So, what’s the solution? Why, to simply temporarily turn your phone off!
Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea to turn your phone off while you work…
You’ll have one less distraction to deal with.
Distractions are not uncommon in an office setting. From chatty coworkers, impromptu meetings, to noisy office equipment, it may seem like there’s a constant barrage of noise and disturbances.
Wouldn’t it be great to have one less distraction to worry about during your day? Turning off your smart phone is a simple action that can yield big results.
Can you imagine for a moment what it would be like to not be distracted every two minutes by your phone? How would you feel? Calm, relaxed, collected, perhaps even a tad less anxious?
You owe it to yourself to eliminate at least one distraction from your daily routine.
You’ll be able to dig deeper in your work.
Something wonderful happens when you can work without interruptions and distractions. Your mind can settle down and you can turn 100% of your attention to your work. Take a moment to really consider this point.
What could it mean for you and your productivity levels if you had the ability to put all of your focus an attention on a single task? What items could you finally strike from your to-do list?
Could you finally solve that nagging administrative problem that’s been dragging on for weeks? How about getting to the bottom of a silly billing error? What if you could join a brainstorming session and put forth a series of creative ideas? What if you could file that giant stack of paperwork in record time?
You’ll be more present.
Turning off your smart phone is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. After you physically switch off your phone, you can turn your attention to your immediate surroundings and really live in the moment.
What are the benefits of being present? You may be surprised by what you experience!
You may find yourself paying more attention to and being fully present in meetings, you may find errors or typos in your emails or reports, and you may have fruitful, focused, uninterrupted conversations with other people.
The Smart Way to Turn Your Phone Off
Okay, so you’re ready to turn your phone off and get some work done. What’s next?
Well, you’ll want to take some smart steps that will set yourself up for success.
Thoughtful planning really is the name of the game.
Remember, this isn’t about turning off your phone for the entire day or week, never using another app, or sending another text message.
It is about temporarily eliminating the distracting nature of your phone while you work.
Here’s the smart way to prepare yourself for a temporary phone switch off:
Choose a specific amount of time in which to work.
Take a moment to identify how long you want to work without being distracted by your phone. Will you need 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes or more to do your work?
If you really want to make some headway, try setting aside an hour so you can dive deeply into your work.
Make sure your work time doesn’t conflict with your calendar.
Obviously, you’ll want to schedule your phone switch off time when your calendar is empty or relatively slow. You don’t want to inadvertently miss a meeting or a phone call if you can help it! Check your calendar to make sure your potential work time doesn’t have any obvious conflicts or bookings.
Let others know you’ll be unavailable.
If you regularly communicate with others via smart phone, texts, or even email, you’ll want to alert them to your availability. You don’t want to leave others in the dark when it comes to communicating with you.
This can be as simple as sending a quick email to say, “Please note, I’ll be unavailable today via cell phone from 2 – 3 P.M. You can reach me after 3 P.M., or leave me a message and I’ll get back to you shortly.”
Completely turn your phone off.
The last step is to take the big plunge and switch your phone off. Go ahead and reach for your phone…and switch it off. The deed is done! Take a deep breath. You’ll be okay, really, you will! Enjoy the quiet and stillness of not being interrupted every three minutes. Now, you can turn your focus to your work.
Feeling Hesitant About the Big Switch Off?
Are you a feeling bit wary when it comes to completely switching off your phone?
Maybe you want to have your phone at the ready in case of an emergency or accident, or perhaps it’s just more convenient for you to keep your phone handy and available to use.
The good news is that there are a variety of ways to reduce or eliminate distractions from your smart phone.
Here are some other practical strategies you can try out:
- Set your smart phone to airplane mode
- Temporarily disable wifi or internet connections
- Remove social media and app status updates
- Set your phone to go straight to voicemail
- Disable the vibrate feature or turn down the volume
- Delete non-essential apps or tools
How about you? What are your thoughts when it comes to turning off or temporarily disabling your cell phone while working? How are you going to eliminate or reduce distractions from your smart phone? Join the conversation and leave a comment below.
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2016.