Smartphones and mobile tablets enable us to connect with others any time, day or night. While this may seem like a step forward in the battle to be productive, this constant availability can actually hinder our productivity.
A recent study carried out by Harvard professor Leslie Perlow looked at high-paid consultants and discovered that unplugging after work led to more productivity, not less.
Now that work isn’t confined to the four walls of our office, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate our personal lives from our work lives. Setting boundaries on acceptable hours of communication and establishing a healthy relationship with our smartphones can help make this definition clearer. So, how do we do this? Take a look at the following ways to have a more harmonious relationship with your smartphone:
1. Remember that even though smartphones are enablers, you are the mastermind
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that it is you who makes the decision to pick up your phone and respond to emails. Yes, smartphones make it easier – but that doesn’t mean you are powerless. There will always be more work to do, so it is imperative that you strike the right balance.
2. Consider who you invite into your bedroom
Using your smartphone to email or look at social networking sites means connecting to other people. As a rule of thumb, if you are in a situation where you wouldn’t invite another person to join, you shouldn’t be using your phone. For example, you probably wouldn’t invite your office into bed with you and your partner, so keep the bedroom a no-phone zone.
3. Set boundaries
If you answer your phone/emails at 8:00pm at night, you shouldn’t be surprised when people expect you to be available at these times. Establish communication boundaries early – whether that involves taking no calls after 6:00pm or only checking emails once after work is over.
4. If you don’t need your phone, turn it off
While it is second nature to take your phone everywhere with you, remember it doesn’t always have to be on. If you are going for a coffee with friends, or off for a day-long hike – take your phone with you, but turn it off. That way you can still call others should you need to, but you won’t be distracted by others trying to reach you.
5. Understand that people can get by without your input
It is easy to think the office will fall apart without you, but chances are – your colleagues will get on just fine. When you are away from your office, resist the temptation to check in, and unplug for a more relaxing break.
If you are struggling to control your smartphone addiction, you may find it helpful to see a hypnotherapist. Helping with addictions and stress, hypnotherapy can help you regain a better work-life balance. To find out more, please see our addiction and stress pages.
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