Confronting your digital addiction

Do you feel like it’s time to go on a digital diet? If you are like most of us, the answer is probably yes.

According to Daniel Sieberg, senior marketing manager at Google, we all are constantly checking our phones throughout the day. Make that 100 to 125 times a day! In fact, 36% of millennials and 21% of the rest of us folks check their phone at least once an hour. 

The situation is getting so bad that people are literally losing sleep over it.  In a recent survey, 55% of survey respondents indicated that their phone was on their nightstand while they were sleeping. Even more disturbing, another 13% kept their phones in bed with them and 3% slept while holding their phones in their hand.

All of this has created a false sense of urgency where everything takes on epic proportions whether or not it really is a serious or urgent matter.

So what’s the solution? Stop the multitasking. According to data Sieberg cited, 98% of us struggle to be effective when multitasking. Maybe it is time to go back to “monotasking” and work on one thing at a time, leaving the phone aside until a project is completed.

Sieberg contends that work outputs are better when we unplug and he is a huge advocate of “having a moment of boredom” where you sit and do absolutely nothing.

Management personnel need to monitor themselves for negative messages they may inadvertently be sending out via their phone attachment. If you are a manager and appear to be distracted (i.e. glancing at your phone) when an employee is trying to speak with you, they will be less likely to share information or concerns with you in the future.

It is a good idea for managers to set limits regarding expectations. For example, if you are in the habit of sending emails out at 7 p.m., make sure all your employees know that you do not expect them to respond to those emails until work resumes the next day.

It’s also OK to set rules for the use of technology in meetings. That can include laptops being closed or putting phones in a stack in the middle of the table while someone is conducting a meeting.

Technology is not going away, and the future will consist of people making wise decisions about the appropriate times and places to use technology. It is not too early for you to put yourself on a digital diet and set some guidelines for the use of technology in your life.

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