Struggling to stay productive while working remotely? Well, your phone might be one of the reasons.
While mobile phones are highly useful, they can also be distracting.
For instance, your phone constantly gets notifications for the latest social media posts. A friend can suddenly call or direct message you to gossip. It even has games!
Now, let’s delve into how this affects your productivity.
How Cognitive Switching Penalty Affects Your Productivity
Does it really affect your productivity when you glance at your phone for a few seconds or even a minute or so?
The short answer: Yes. Studies support this idea because of the cognitive switching penalty.
This term describes the mental effort and time it takes to shift back your focus from one task to another.
When you get distracted by your phone, it takes time to shift your focus back to your work tasks, resulting in slower productivity.
So what can you do about it? Here are 7 ways to prevent your phone from disrupting your focus at work.
Turn Off Notifications
Your phone can automatically notify you about any messages, news, or updates on accounts you follow.
So turning off notifications from non-essential apps is a good idea to avoid distractions.
For instance, getting Candy Crush updates is nice, but they’re not worth sacrificing your focus for.
Put Your Phone on Silent or Do Not Disturb Mode
Some notifications are still important, so you can’t turn them off. Instead, you can just put your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb mode.
This way, you can get back to your notifications once you’re no longer busy.
How about emergency notifications? Consider enabling “Emergency Bypass” for important texts and calls on modern smartphones, just in case.
Use a Screen Management App
If your phone keeps distracting you, screen management apps might help.
Screen management apps can limit the usage of your most distracting mobile applications.
For example, you can set Facebook usage to a maximum of 15 minutes a day. Once you exceed that limit, the app locks Facebook for further use.
Put Your Phone Away
Sometimes, all it takes is putting your phone away. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as some would say.
Schedule Phone Breaks
As with a strict diet, excessively depriving yourself can often backfire.
So instead of totally abstaining from your phone, you can schedule some screentime as a reward for productivity.
For example, you’ve been working for 2 hours already. Why not schedule a 10-minute break for using your phone?
You can also allocate your lunchtime or midday breaks for phone usage.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
Another trick you can use is the Pomodoro technique. It sounds like a pasta dish, but it’s all about scheduling your productive time.
The Pomodoro technique involves 25 minutes of focused work using a Pomodoro Clock (or your phone timer).
After a 25-minute Pomodoro session, you then reward yourself with a 5-minute break to do what you want — like check your phone.
It can be especially effective because when you have the urge to check your phone, you see your Pomodoro timer ticking. This makes you stop and go back to your task.
You also anticipate the break as a special reward after.
Delete Distracting Apps
Some people are too distracted by specific apps. If you can’t control yourself, maybe it’s time to delete them.
This way, you won’t be tempted to use them and can focus on more important tasks.
With the tips above, you can definitely avoid distractions from your phone and be more productive as a remote worker.
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