Smartphones – The modern compulsion
The smartphone addiction is an obsessive compulsory habit all of us smartphone users have fallen prey to. Statistics have shown that the average smartphone user checks/unlocks his phone 110-150 times in a day and this habit is done without thought or a deliberate goal.
There is this constant need to check and re-check our phones; to open notifications, respond to emails, like or post a pic or retweet something. For an entrepreneur/businessman trying to make the most out of each day, the time staring at a phone is valuable time that has been lost.
You can justify your constant phone use as ‘being necessary for work’ or a need to ‘keep in touch’ and doing your small role in a global society. Truthfully, mobile technology is one of the best thing that has happened to humans and the society, yet why does it seem the phone uses us more than we use it? Because it does.
Where Did The Time Go?
Smartphones are time killers. A quick check on an email can result to more than two extra hours on the phone. Doing what really?
Where are you reading this? Probably on your phone. How did you get here? Was it your true/sole intention to read on how to get rid of your smartphone’s addiction? How many distractions have you had on your phone after you did what you initially wanted to do with your phone? How many links and posts led you here?
Television was formerly the time killer (and still is for some), but its biggest advantage is the undoing of the smartphone. It is too big to be carried around. Our smartphones have the ability to distract us anywhere and everywhere because they are so small they can be carried anywhere; even to the dining table and toilet.
How does this addiction affect us?
Several statistics about our relationship with our phones alarm me
More than 60% of teens text during class and after bedtime
58% of professionals text during a board meeting
Most persons can stay for only 3mins before needing to interact with technology
Check out the crowd at a concert, a movie, a school play, a beach- heck even a funeral and you’ll likely see several people sneaking prolonged peeks at their smartphones. They just can’t help themselves. Ringtones and messages alerts are sirens that lure them back to the world of distraction, no matter where they are.
“Let’s face it,” writes Harvard Business School, Professor Leslie Parlow “when that phone buzzes, few of us have the mental fortitude to ignore it.”
In a study of 1,600 managers and professionals, Leslie Parlow found out that
70% said they check their phones within an hour of waking up
56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep
48% check their phone over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
51% check continuously during vacation
44% said they would experience ‘a great deal of anxiety’ if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.
You may say, I am not spending my time playing candy crush or traffic rider, I am doing something more valuable and substantial, something necessary for my work. Like what? Checking your email? Staying updated with google trends?
Do you realize it can take up to 23 minutes, 15 seconds to get back to where you left off (level of concentration and all) after an interruption? If you let your phone interrupt you every 10mins, do you know how much man-time and resources you’ve lost in a day?
You Can Break Free of This Addiction
Experts say that by creating some rules about devices and sticking to them, you can actually have a healthy relationship with your phone, leaving you to be more focused and present in work, home or even at play.
Do not crumble your business by replying to messages and emails in front of your customers and clients or board members- who should you have you present 100%. People do not like it when you have to cut them off each time your phone buzzes – “sorry let me check that quickly’. They may not act outright, but it is not cool.
6 Quick Tips
1. Use Counter App to check your excesses
Ironically, there are apps that help you control your use of other apps and they are very effective. Don’t worry you won’t get addicted to them.
i. BreakFree (iOS, Android)
This app shows you how often you unlock your phone screen, and comprehensively logs your usuage for the day. It’s a great choice for those who might to challenge themselves.
ii. StayonTask (Android)
This app is a gentler reminder for those who get easily distracted while using their phones. The app asks if you’re still on a task at random interval during the day.
iii. Moment (iOS)
This app tracks your device usage and allows you to set daily limits; the app notifies you if you exceed them. There is even a setting that ‘forces’ you to put off your phone with annoying alerts when you try to extend your screen time.
iv. Flipd (Android)
Flipd is a more aggressive approach to unplugging. It allows you to lock your phone for a certain period of time, and once you do there is no going back. Even restarting your phone won’t disable the app.
v. Offtime (iOS, Android)
This app block distracting apps like Facebook and games and filtering communications. You can choose tailored modes like Work, Family or Me Time to ensure you have access to the things you need but aren’t distracted by those you don’t.
2. Set Smartphone Restricted Areas/Time
Do you really need to check your phone during a board meeting? Or at the red lights? You don’t have to check your phone first thing in the morning or last thing in the night. If your phone is not necessary at work, turn it off. Turn it off when eating or having a good time with family or friends.
3. Turn off your data/Activate Airplane Mode
I turn off my data off so online notifications do not filter in until I am ready to receive them. That way, even if I pick up my phone to perhaps use the dictionary or access something offline, I won’t get distracted by a catchy facebook headline or an email notification.
4. Use a phone that do not provide access to the internet for your calls
You can use a phone that do not provide access to the internet for your calls. There are some Nokia phones available now that are designed like that. That way you don’t pick your phone to answer a call only to want to take a quick peek afterwards.
5. Set priority
Work is important. You have to be really focused on work to work. If the emails you’ll receive do not directly affect your work immediately, then your phone should be far away from you or in Airplane mode until either break time or after work hours, and if you need your phone for work, make sure your app is set to regulate you.
Also realize that physical relationships matters too. At home, during quality time with family and friends, the airplane mode should be activated.
6. Get an alarm Clock
Do not use your phone as an alarm, so you don’t get tempted to also check your phone first thing in the morning.