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Here’s a thought: Is technology aiding or hindering your business?

I recently came across an interesting article from Opportunity which states “on a scale of 1 to 10 the average professional rated themselves as having a 6.26 level of addiction to their phone”, with the age group most addicted to their phones as the 35-49 year-olds – probably not the age group we would expect!

Every client I work with will talk about not being able to ‘switch off’ from their business. The question is, ‘do we self-inflict this by constantly checking our phones?’ Technology allows us to have our whole world (and business) in the palm of our hands. But, with everything in the same place how easy is it to check our emails at the same time as we’re scrolling through social media in what’s supposedly our ‘down time’.

One client told me the other day that if he wakes up during the night the first thing he does is checks his phone. As this habit disrupts his sleep, he now believes he’s performing below his best due to tiredness – evidently, the knock-on effect can be detrimental to your business.

It does make you wonder if we’re in control of our lives, or if technology and our many devices are controlling us. The report from Opportunity found the largest % of respondents check their phone over 50 times a day, that’s on average 4-5 times per waking hour. With this evident addiction to our devices, where does this leave our ability to focus?

Are you focused are you on the tasks at hand, or are you flitting between tasks, seemingly multi-tasking but not actually achieving anything worthwhile throughout the day?

We have to strive to create a new habit of NOT checking our phones constantly. So, how do we break the addiction?

Can you turn your phone off for short periods throughout the day when you need to focus, even for 30-60 minutes? The urge to check your phone, and the distraction it causes, will soon start to dwindle if you’re met with a blank screen. If the thought of turning your phone off and missing important calls is a little too anxiety-inducing, and you have someone who can take calls on your behalf, then divert them. This way contacts can still leave a message and you can be interrupted if it’s genuinely urgent.

Pause your emails using an application such as Inbox Pause. for both Gmail and Outlook. This will block emails coming through to your inbox, at intervals chosen by you, so you’re not tempted by any email notifications – remember, if it’s urgent people will call! Even setting up an ‘out of office’ response and turning it on when you’re working may help to take the pressure off – you won’t be so preoccupied with responding immediately if you’ve set an ‘I’m currently away from my desk’ notice.

Our phones, with all of our many apps open at once (email, WhatsApp, Facebook…), has made us believe we’re all ‘busy, busy, busy’ multitasking experts. The opposite is true. Learn to ‘mono-task’, by consciously working on a single task for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. This way of working forces you to focus which results in genuine progress.

Programs such as Toggl can help, and can also be used to conduct a ‘time-audit’ of your working week. Use the timer to track how long you spend on certain tasks and activities. If used honestly for one week, it will give you a visual breakdown of where your much-valued time is being spent, and how much time you waste with distractions.

Ask yourself ‘am I using my time in the best way to achieve my goals?’ If the answer is ‘no’, hopefully, this article has been some use to you.

James Akin SmithHere’s a thought: Is technology aiding or hindering your business?