I recently had a problem with my phone and had to send it away to get fixed. While it was being fixed my mobile provider were good enough to give me a replacement. A very old Samsung flip phone with no smartphone capabilities.
After the initial fury of being separated from my beloved Windows Phone and forced to use the antiquated Samsung, I decided to embrace it and take a step back (albeit a small and temporary one) from technology until my phone was fixed. The results were amazing.
I’m what a lot of people would probably describe as a workaholic. If I’m not at my desk I’m sending e-mails from my phone, writing content, updating social media or just gorging myself on the glut of news and information that the internet has to offer. It was a big step for me to leave my smartphone behind and I was genuinely worried about the impact it would have on my productivity.
Contrary to everything that I thought would happen I actually found myself being MORE productive. Not only that, I slowly realised that I felt more relaxed, had more spare time and felt generally better about myself.
The reasons behind my sudden change in attitude seem reasonably obvious. Spending less time engrossed in my phone meant that I was more engaged with the world. I wasted less time reading the sports news on my mobile and more time playing my banjo. When the office doesn’t follow you around in your pocket all day, it is easier to just leave the stresses and strains of the office behind when you walk out the door.
As for my productivity. I have a few theories about that as well:
- Constraining myself to only working during office hours meant that I was less tired of working, less stressed and less run down. This meant that I didn’t procrastinate when I was at my desk and felt better about the work I was doing.
- Fewer things fell between the gaps of me thinking “I’ll deal with that in the office” and then forgetting about it by the time I got there.
- The positive attitude shift made me feel generally better about myself allowing me to give my best while I was in the office due to reduced stress levels.
- Not being available outside the office meant that I had to plan more and be stricter with my planning. Having a thorough plan and reviewing it regularly to check that everything was included and, more importantly that it was manageable helped ensure all my work was carried out with the minimal amount of stress.
You will be glad to hear that I have now been reunited with my phone. I would love to say that I no longer work on it and that I restrict myself in terms of usage, but I don’t. I did however learn some valuable lessons from not having a smartphone and I try to use these lessons to positively impact my work.
I think everyone should, at least once a year, ditch their smartphone for a week or two and see how it affects them. You may gain some valuable insights into yourself and the way you work.