If you’re friends with me, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I’m most likely unreachable in the afternoon. My phone goes to voicemail and your text messages left forever unread (an exaggeration – it’s more a few hours). I want to say I’m sorry, but allow me to explain myself.
Every day, especially on weekdays, I have the habit of turning off my phone during my working hours to increase productivity. I had found myself easily getting distracted by my phone; the temptation of picking it up and just “check” was just irresistible to me. Next thing I knew, my work would be put aside for the next hour or two as I mindlessly scrolled down into the spiral of the infinite Instagram feed. It’s like once you unlock the phone, there’s no way back out…
Trust me, I wouldn’t be doing this if all the other methods I had tried didn’t work on me. I first started with putting my phone on mute. I turned off the ringtone and notification sounds. But I found myself keep going back and forth checking my lock screen to see if there were any incoming texts. Basically, it didn’t help – but made things worse.
So, I changed my tactic. I put my phone somewhere out of sight and not easily attainable. Under the pillow. In another room. At the bottom of my closet. Hate to admit it, but I was desperate. That, of course, didn’t work either.
Then, I had this app downloaded that keeps track of my time usage on different apps. And it showed social media apps took up a huge chunk of the proportion. In other words, I wasn’t doing anything very productive with my phone. So I finally decided I was going to separate it from my work life to increase productivity.
“Has it caused inconvenience? Yeah, considering my friends have been bugging about me never being active on texting back.”
For the past couple of months, I have been shutting down my phone while I work. I have access to email and all the other work-related stuff on my laptop. As far as working goes, I don’t really need a phone. Now, if I get into a writer’s block or begin staring blankly, instead of ritually reaching for my phone and wasting time, I stop and give my mind a break, maybe do a little stretching or just tell myself to pause and look around for details of my surroundings.
And surprisingly enough, I found it has been quite beneficial to increase productivity. Perhaps because turning on my phone is such an ordeal to me, that the temptation to “just check” my phone isn’t as compelling when I have to wait for the phone to turn on and get connected to Wi-Fi before I start using it.
Sometimes even when I go out, I also like to turn off my phone because I can then fully engage all my senses to the present moment, with the people I spend time with, without having to worry at the back of my mind when I hear a “ping”. *Click here to find out how to deal with Phone Separation Anxiety
Has it caused inconvenience? Yeah, considering my friends have been bugging about me never being active on texting back. Has it made me become more productive? Yes, absolutely. Is it the best solution? Well…so far, yes. I wouldn’t call it a solution since I can’t just forever turn off my phone.
My next goal is to co-exist with my phone – it being on my worktable, and when a notification goes off, I can just look at it and say: “Yeah, you can wait.”