It’s 2018, and we’re more connected than ever before. The average person checks social media for nearly two hours every day, which adds up to an astonishing five and a half years over a lifetime! That frequency is only expected to rise as social media platforms think of innovative ways to further suck in their audience.
Devices and Work Performance
When you’re trying to get your work done, do you catch yourself peeking at your phone multiple times? Maybe you have a tablet for portability and to help you research while on the job, but find yourself checking personal emails or checking your Facebook.
Recent studies show that having mobile phones or other gadgets like tablets severely hinder work productivity – “even if one does not interact with the device.” Simply having your phone on and near you, like on your desk, can interrupt your flow and concentration. A simple notification is actually enough to derail someone as much as if they had answered that text, email, social media alert or call.
A Fine Line
Sure, you want to be reachable in case of emergency. Maybe you work from your phone often. Smartphones can do more than ever before, after all. But are your devices hindering you more than helping? Are they killing your productivity?
Do an experiment with yourself. Next time you’re at work, have your phone on, sound on, sitting right there in view on your desk while you’re trying to do work that requires great concentration. Take note of if you’re often distracted, looking at your phone to see if you have any notifications. Then, take an hour where your phone is completely off and out of your vicinity.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
Did it work? Did having your cell phone or tablet completely off and away from you while you’re working increase your concentration and productivity? Did you find that you got more done in that one disconnected hour than you normally would on a typical day?
The human mind is deft at multitasking. It’s designed to do so, but the more things that you try to have it focus on, the less it will remember and compute about each thing. If you’re putting your all into your work but then get a text message, you’re asking your brain to focus on multiple things at once, each thing at less than 100 percent.
If you answer the text, you’ve got to get refocused on what you were doing. Maybe the text that you answered was worrisome or maybe it was simply someone asking to grab dinner after work. Either way, even after the text is answered, your brain is still focusing on the contents of the message.
If you don’t answer the message, you’re stuck wondering what it says until you read it.
Either way, do yourself a favor to increase your productivity in 2018 – give yourself a few disconnected hours at work per day, and watch your capabilities blossom.