Want to Become Part of the 1 Percent? Put Your Smartphone Down!

Key Takeaways:

  • Technology is here for your convenience
  • Maximize your time
  • Understand the difference between activity and productivity

Technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Innovations arrive on the scene at warp speed, and in a constant and continuous manner. Via the smartphone, we hold in our hands access to more information in an instantaneous manner than ever before. Want to know something? Ask Alexa. Don’t know the answer to a question, ask Siri. Have a general topic to learn about? Google a question and you’re instantly provided with a myriad of answers.

So, with all of this incredible knowledge at our fingertips, why do so many people continue to struggle with getting the most important things done when they’re due and in top-notch fashion? I suspect it is because they don’t own their technology — but rather their technology often owns them.

The adages about the value of time are infinite. Time is money, time is the only commodity even the richest person can’t by more of, time is our greatest asset, etc. There are as many books written about time management as any other business subject out there.

So why is the proper and most productive use of our time so elusive? It often comes down to a predisposition to be active. When we are constantly active, we feel productive. The problem, however, is that being busy and having every minute of every hour accounted for does not necessarily have a direct bearing on our productivity. It certainly doesn’t have a strong correlation to the quality of our output.

Don’t believe me? Here is what Bill Gates has to say on the subject:

"You control your time. ... sitting and thinking may be a much higher priority, it’s not a proxy of your seriousness that you've filled every minute in your schedule."1 

The smartphone provides us with such a variety of information that every time we pick it up, we get sucked into apps that contribute little or nothing to our mission critical priorities. There are a few basic rules that can prevent this wonderful device from becoming an unnecessary and unproductive distraction. Here are some ideas to consider.

Use it to check email no more than twice a day.  Once before noon and once after noon. Remember the device is designed to increase your productivity. How many times have you picked it up to send one important email but get trapped into going through everything in your inbox at the expense of more critical tasks?  Having a set time as to when to deal with emails will keep you focused and on track with that which is truly most important.

Remember, its primary function is that it is a phone. So, if it isn’t ringing and you don’t have an important call to make it, why even pick it up? How many times a day are you picking it up, taking a quick look at email, only to end up checking LinkedIn messages?

Leave social media sites for social interactions.  The amount of time most people waste on these sites is extraordinary. Here is a simple test that will demonstrate what I am talking about here. Think of the person in your business world who is the absolutely most successful person you know.  Ask them if they have a Facebook page or a LinkedIn site. The smart money is betting they don’t.

Good luck with your choices.




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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.