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5 Ways to Break Free from Your Smartphone & Why You Should

Patrick Nelson, October 19, 2015

5 Simple Ways to Break Free from Your Phone – And Why You Should

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

Winston Churchill

My dog ate my phone. Ok, he did not really eat it, but he definitely tried. I had to wait 24 excruciating hours for a new phone to be delivered. How in the world was I going to survive?

I am a millennial and I am well aware of the stereotype regarding my smartphone. My phone is my GPS, my appointment book, my camera, my email, and my social media connection. Oh, and it also makes phone calls.

It was difficult at first, but in the end, I had one of the most productive 24 hours of my life. Free from the chains of my smartphone, I was more focused and paid more attention to detail in my work. I realized how ineffective my phone had made me and how it impacted my ability as a leader to influence outcomes and inspire others. I was not giving colleagues or tasks the undivided attention they required. This hurt relationships and impacted the quality of my work and my ability to lead.

In those 24 hours without my phone, I spent some time thinking about simple, yet effective practical steps that we can take to better focus, which increases our ability to influence and inspire without being tied to our smartphones:

  1. Keep track of your smartphone habits; awareness of when you are most likely to use it will help you take action on the next steps.
  2. Turn off all notifications while you are working, which includes turning off the vibration.
  3. Put your phone in another drawer or another room where you cannot see it while working on projects.
  4. Schedule time in your day, no more than 10 minutes, where you can do things like update your status, send a tweet, or surf Instagram.
  5. Uninstall the apps that steal your time and your focus.

Our smartphone is an extremely valuable tool that can help us tremendously, but we have to be aware how it can also hurt us. These simple, yet effective steps will help you become a better leader by being more focused and less distracted.

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