WORKPLACE / JUN. 09, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Avoid Using Your Cell Phone at Work

Cell phones, we all have them - and in this digital age, it seems like most of us simply cannot release ourselves from their addictive grasp.

Although these miniature pocket computers do serve as a genuine work aid, with emails, calendars, documents all available at the swipe of a touch screen, when in the office, they can come as an unwelcome distraction.

In many companies, the mobile phone is tolerated, but overuse can lead to a dip in productivity and perhaps even a disciplinary issue. If you are a smartphone addict and find it hard to go more than 20 minutes without having a little browse of your social pages, personal emails, texts or messenger, here are a few tips that will help you get out of the habit while at work…

Get your fix - if you love looking at your Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis, get stuck into your phone or fire up your laptop either before leaving, or on the way to work. This will give you your fix before starting the working day, therefore, allowing you to leave your cell alone until at least lunchtime.

Put it Away - you know what they say; out of sight, out of mind. If your phone is visible or at arm’s reach, you will be tempted to pick it up, so put it safely in your bag, coat pocket or locker at least five metres away from your work space. This will make you think twice before you actually go to have a cheeky check of your phone.

Treat Yourself - rather than playing with your phone every ten minutes (and irritating your boss), get into a different mindset. Like anything in life, overdoing something can really take the fun out of it so think about that next time you start edging towards your cell phone. Instead of thinking you might be missing out on something, tell yourself that it can wait and once you’ve carried a decent, productive piece of work, you can treat yourself with five minutes of phone time - away from your desk of course!

Set Custom Alerts - one of the big problems with the over usage of mobile phones is the element of mystery. Not only do we now check for texts, missed calls and voicemails, we also want to check every personal email account and social media page we have signed up for. However, if you download the appropriate apps, you can set alerts that are sent direct to your phone every time you get a message or update of any sort. Okay, this may sound like you’re actually tempting yourself to use your phone even more, but from personal experience, if you do need to have your cell phone within arms reach for any reason, I’ve found that by seeing you’ve got a new email or update, you can accept it and check them later rather than feeling the need to look through your phone all the time.

Make it Difficult - if you are one of those people who has a cell phone addiction and it really is eating into your work time, make it hard to hack by setting a difficult password. Either set a long password with many different numbers and characters (make sure you don’t forget it!) or if is a fingertip pattern password, make it complex. This will make it harder to quickly get into your phone when the boss isn’t looking and overtime, help you get out of the habit of using your phone at work so regularly

It may seem like a trivial first world problem, but cell phone dependency really can hinder one’s ability to concentrate on their job, which is never a good thing. Just remember, you are in the office to get things done, not play with your phone and by making a few adjustments you can avoid using your cell phone at work. It won’t happen overnight, but follow these tips and you’ll eventually notice a positive improvement.

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