Are you a slave to your smartphone? There never seems to be any freedom from our phones anymore. No down time, no disconnecting and going offline for long periods of time, no relief. Even if you get a handle on the compulsive ways you use your mobile phone at home, managing it at work can be a different story.
Most of us use our personal phones for absolutely everything including checking work emails, getting calls and texts from clients or co-workers, even managing work-related social media. Sound familiar? If your work related phone use is adding to your daily stress, there are some smart and easy ways to reduce that anxiety and have a better relationship with your tech at work.
Zap those notifications. Your phone is probably set up to ping, ding and ring every time someone else does something online. If you keep responding to the notifications for every app on your phone, you’ll train your brain to react and distract you from your work every time. Go through your phone settings and turn off all but the absolutely most critical notifications or use your phone’s Do Not Disturb setting to block all notifications during work hours or for chunks of time while you’re at the office. You can even use an app like Freedom to block distractions across your Mac, Windows and iOS devices. https://freedom.to/
Schedule a date with your phone. Make checking on work-related communications on your smartphone a scheduled event, not a mindless habit. Designate specific times throughout your day to take a few minutes to scan what you need to review. If you’re at the office, use your computer and not your phone to check emails. The goal is to make grabbing your phone a conscious choice to use it for things you can’t perform with any other tech. Less reaching for your phone equals less distraction which equals more time and brain energy to get work done.
Table that phone. Going to a meeting or a business lunch? Ask everyone to turn their phones off and stack them on a corner of the table at a restaurant or place them in a basket at the door of the conference room or just tuck them away from view. Give others the kind of attention that you’d like them to give to you. Ask others to join you in your quest to reduce the stress and anxiety of constantly checking for that next message. Gain some quiet time to really enjoy your meal and conversations or even get more out of your meeting.
Check your employee handbook. Most companies these days have updated their employee handbooks to include tech use and mobile phone use policies. See what yours says about what is allowed and not allowed. Make sure you aren’t breaking any rules that could hurt you later.
Ask for a policy. If your company’s employee handbook doesn’t address mobile phone use, speak to your supervisor or your company’s HR department about clarifying what you can and can’t do with your personal smartphone at the office. More importantly, ask about setting some policies around healthier ways of using mobile devices at work or at home for work. The goal is to get everyone at your office on board for reducing smartphone interruptions at the office and, more importantly, after work hours. Check out this guide for creating a cell phone usage policy at office.
The bottom line is that if you can break bad tech habits at home, you can bring those benefits to your workplace, reduce distractions and increase productivity. If you champion tech wellness at work, your efforts may also boost your organization’s bottom line. More than anything, you’ll tame your smartphone to make it work for you and not the other way around.