Unplugging from the Matrix to Boost Productivity

computer robot backgroundChecking your phone every 7 minutes?  As crazy as it sounds the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s annual Internet Trends report found that people are checking their phones 150 times a day.  To go from growing up without a cell phone just 15 years ago to this startling fact sheds some light on just how using our phone has become second nature to a lot of us.  The need to stay connected to the internet, email, Facebook and Instagram in our lives can run havoc on productivity however.  The frequent checks to follow up on what is going on in our personal and business lives have the potential to serve as a constant interruption that pull us away from the goals that we want or need to get accomplished throughout the day.  Even minor distractions add up at the end of the day and make completing your scheduled tasks on any given day a repetitive cycle of pushing things off until the next day.  If you want to break the cycle here are some tips to help you steer away from the constant phone checks so you can get the most out of work time and enjoy your play time to the fullest.

Turn off the ringer and put the phone away: Sounds simple but sometimes not knowing what is out there is the best way to avoid getting distracted.  When the phone is not constantly dinging and ringing it makes it easier to focus on the task at hand.  What you don’t know, won’t hurt you and the great thing about the Internet is that you can catch up in about 60 seconds to the newest wave of information out there.  Doing one thing at one time is still the best way to ensure you are being proficient and accurate and prevent you from making more work for yourself in cleaning up what you could have done right the first time.

Assign some time to respond: As phones have become more and more attached we tell ourselves the story that we need to have it in case emergency strikes.  This may be true but honestly how often do you get those emergency calls you tell yourself is the reason you can’t live without your phone. Many times you can be reached on alternative numbers if it is a true emergency and the slim chance disaster will strike can become a crutch.  Be realistic with yourself on why you cannot cut the cord.  This can help you zero in on what you really think you will miss by not having the phone attached.  Depending on what the need is set up some times throughout the day you are accessible by your cell phone and your phone is accessible to you.  This can relieve some “what am I missing” anxiety and keep you on track to getting things done.

Prioritize what is coming in: Between email, texts, phone calls, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Twitter (to name a few) your phone can be a constant hot box.  Some of these things need to be addressed immediately, but many of them can be done on down time or once the day is slowing down.  Working on responding to the things that are important and have some immediate urgency stops you letting the distractions take over.

Make your phone time a reward after the work is done.  I think the years of access to my phone has given me a little ADD. The more you become accustom to the distraction the harder it is to be away from it for a long period of time.  Knock out some things that you need to get done and upon completion treat yourself with some time doing something you have to do as opposed to the things you need to do.   All work and no play may just result in some lackluster work so find what works for you in balancing focusing your attention on work versus your phone.

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