Studies have now shown that the mere presence of a cell phone impairs your performance. Social Psychology recently published a study where people had been subject to an exercise of mathematics. The result of the study showed that when test subjects had a silent cell phone laying beside them on the desk, their performance was 20% worse than those who had no phone present.
I’m not surprised. For some time, I have been harboring the belief that cell phones create too much distraction in our lives and most people don’t really think anymore. It’s always tempting to reach for your phone instead of focusing 100% on the task at hand. It makes me sad. And it makes me angry that I realize that I’m also a victim of this destructive behavior.
The university of Essex conducted a study that showed that people with their phones in visible presence were perceived as less engaged, less committed and less competent. Definitely not they signal one would like to broadcast to the world! It’s not a shocking find – just look around and fix your eyes on the closest person who seems lost in their cozy little phone-world and see for yourself. This is very true for me as well. One of the things I hate most is when people are walking in public places (not to mention driving or biking) with their eyes on their little screen and not watching where they are going. Whenever it happens, I really just want to tackle them on their ass and say HEADS UP! I just think people who play with their phone in public come across as completely lacking in self control and motivation. Even if it’s not true, that’s how I feel about them an I’m sure I’m not alone.
On a personal level, 2018 will bring about some major changes to my phone behavior. To free me from the addictive claws of the screen and present myself as a person in control of my time and behavior, I have created a set of personal phone rules:
- I NEVER play with my phone in public (I really think it’s embarrassing and an unconscious sign of weak character)
- My phone is not in my pocket unless it REALLY has to be (emergency). A phone in your pocket also looks bad. It messes up the shape of your pants. I personally hate having things in my pockets.
- My phone is FORBIDDEN in bed.
- I don’t play with my phone during a conversation or social encounter (respect the person, be present in the moment)
- My communication apps are blocked at all times except for a few short scheduled times each day. I still love to use my Evernote planning app (tip: GET IT!)
- I don’t have my phone on me at work or in class.
These rules will bring the power back into my hands and give me more control over my time and attention. Honestly, the most useful thing on my phone is taking notes and gathering thoughts and plans in the app Evernote (highly recommended). If any of my friends see my breaking the rules – please tell me straight away.
What phone rules could you consider? Is your phone stealing your attention, making you forget things, seem lazy or less engaged in the present moment? What picture do you want to present of yourself?