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John Rice

Bowland Solutions

Sales & Marketing Director

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Get control of your smartphone


Fellow director, Brendan Walsh, share his thoughts on the emerging trend of being 'always on' in the world of work.

There was a main BBC news story yesterday that noted that managers on average work more than one additional day per week "unpaid".  Within the article was one of the first national commentaries I have seen on the pressures that come from smartphones; "Smartphone technology has added to pressures to work, with some managers "obsessively" checking email outside of office hours, Mr Elvin said."

Now, the smartphone is of course not the issue.  It is simply a technology and a very useful one at that which allows you to work in a manner much more convenient than before.  But, it is a technology that came at us in an unplanned way and our embracing of the flexibility has often led to obsessive checking.  It is very common for us to hear in 360 feedback sessions of people checking their phone on waking (often because the phone is used as an alarm) and then there being one last check of the email before going to bed at night.  Add in the checking of emails on trains, walking between meetings, over dinner, etc. and this "always on" approach to work leaves little time for reflection, rest and clear thinking.  I'm not sure any of us would have set our lives up this way if we had the chance to plan it.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater though.  Let's look at some suggested best practice.

  • Don't use your phone as an alarm - waking up to a flashing light signifying a new email is not ideal.
  • Set a time in the morning when you will "check in".  Your family may have an idea of when this should be!
  • Turn off the flashing light that signifies you have a new email.  Let's be honest, an hour never passes without a new email arriving so what is it really telling you?  You can turn off notifications on all of the major phones.
  • Set a time in the evening when you have stopped work and will no longer "check in".
  • Don't reply outside of work hours unless a response is required outside of work hours.
  • Have a work email account and a personal email account.  Now you can check your personal email without seeing the work stuff.  Very handy at weekends and during holidays.
  • "Reply all" is the devil's work.  Stop it now.

The smartphone should be a productivity tool.  It has the potential to be a fantastic one.  But if the actual result of the smartphone is that it creates endless interruptions and distorts priorities then that isn't productive and you should give yourself a break and get control of it.


Author Profile Picture
John Rice

Sales & Marketing Director

Read more from John Rice

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