According to a study, an average cell phone user touches the phone 2,167 times a day or equivalent to 2.5 hours. Then there’s also a study that continually checking their phones results to a higher level of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets.
Some of us use the phone simultaneous with when we are talking to someone or even driving, which is worse. Yes, there are benefits in multi-tasking, but the drawbacks outweigh those benefits. It not only results in more anxiety or stress but a half-baked product of your work.
With this, I wonder, how can one person reduce the number of times they touch his or her phone? If you’re a businessperson and you are managing all aspects of your company, it is given that you will be overwhelmed with so many tasks. So if one can develop a system to automate some and minimize friction in executing your work such as checking your to-do list on your phone, then you’ll be more effective and efficient.
Over the years, I’ve been in constant research, trial and error on how to achieve that “nirvana” of doing my todo list. I tried so many tools from Remember The Milk, Google Inbox, Google Tasks, Google Keep, Jira, Basecamp, Post Its, a physical notebook and Trello. But I always end up with obsessively checking the tasks on hand and non-stop looking at my phone.
I even have a separate phone with me in the morning so that I won’t be tempted to glance at the notifications of my work phone. I may seem calm from the outside, but my mind is pounding with stressful thoughts and anxiety.
Just recently, I thought of an experiment to minimize the number of times I will touch and view my phone and use a smartwatch or only the phone notification to glance at quick pings and IMs.
The main objective is, how can I be able to reduce the use of my phone while still be productive and efficient? So this is what I am going to do at work in the next coming days:
1. Classify my activities.
* a. Email checks and work planning using a laptop
* b. Face-to-face meetings
* c. Manage IMs
2. For activity a)., I will block one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to reply to emails using my laptop. Then I will use Google Keep to set tasks with due date reminder notification that will require me to do another activity, for example, a phone call or proposal review.
3. Use Google Calendar to set events for face-to-face meetings.
4. Classify IMs, using a smartwatch with cellular data can eliminate the use of a phone. You can even leave your phone at home with the latest smartwatches such as Apple Watch.
* IMs answerable by yes or no, use a reply/msg template to make a quick reply.
* IMs that require a discussion, I can use a smartwatch with a wireless earphone to call instead of discussing over text if it’s urgent, or just call them after my current task.
To paint you a picture further, here’s a sample day for me:
7am – 8am – I will block this hour to reply to emails, messages, and set reminders to place a call in a specific time of the day.
7:45am – a watch Google Keep notification will pop-up telling me to start the sales meeting at 8am showing the list of things to discuss.
8am – 10am – focus on the sales meeting while glancing over quick IMs and apply item 4 above.
9:45am – a watch notification will pop-up telling me to wrap up and start driving to my a meeting outside the office.
10am to 12pm – sales call outside the office while glancing over quick IMs on my smartwatch. Will reply using templates and/or set reminders via the watch to call back.
12pm to 2pm – lunch and do item 2 above – check emails using a laptop and re-arrange Google Keep tasks.
1:45pm – a watch notification will pop-up telling me what to do next…
And the cycle goes on and on.
With this “algorithm,” I might be able to reduce the time significantly in using my phone, if not entirely eliminate them instead of constantly checking and replying emails, msgs and attending to tasks real-time.
The smart way of using your phone this time is when you want to read an ebook peacefully on the bed, listen to podcasts or engage in social media when you are not in work mode.
If this experiment is successful, then I will try to share my experience with you via a vlog.