Sunday, March 26, 2017

Want to be more productive at work? Leave your smartphone at home


I never considered myself a smartphone addict, but it is true that I waste a lot of time checking my phone and responding to personal emails and messages. According to studies [1] and [2], the average user checks the smartphone 80 times per day for 2.42 hours and touches the display 5427 times per day. These figures might seem very high, but I tracked my smartphone usage with BreakFree for one week and they are surprisingly accurate.
A couple of years ago I started using the Pomodoro Technique at work, which blocks smartphone notifications and some websites during the work intervals (25 minutes) and allows you to check them during the scheduled breaks (5 minutes after each work interval). This really helped me be more productive but it requires self-discipline that sometimes I don't have.

What if you really can't check your smartphone, personal email or social media because you don't have access to it? A few weeks ago I started the following experiment:
  1. Activate two-step verification for my Google account
  2. Activate login approvals for my Facebook account
  3. Activate login verification for my Twitter account
  4. Activate two-step verification for my Linkedin account
  5. Give my family a phone number where they can reach you at work in case of emergency
  6. Leave my smartphone at home and go to work
It is difficult to explain how vulnerable and insecure I felt the first time I left my phone at home... but after a few weeks the results have been incredibly positive.

I cannot check my personal email, Whatsapp or social media because after enabling two-factor authentication I need my smartphone for it. As a result, I don't get distracted by notifications every few minutes and I don't proactively use these services. In other words, I can focus on work, increasing my productivity.

When I get home in the evening I receive all the notifications at a time and respond to them all within 20-30 minutes, helping me save over 2 hours a day. that I devote to more enriching activities.

In addition, people don't expect me to be always reachable anymore, giving me a wonderful feeling of freedom.

Another positive side-effect is that your accounts will be protected from unauthorised access by using two-factor authentication.