Making these seven simple changes to your daily phone habits will help you work more efficiently and feel less anchored to your mobile devices.
In the fast-paced real estate business, your smartphone and other devices can be your best friends—or fill your day with interruptions. Emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media notifications are digital distractions that can get in the way of being effective at your job and living your life to its fullest.
“Technology is making us connect more often within shorter amounts of time,” says Larry Rosen, professor emeritus and research consultant at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and co-author of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World (2016). Technology has set an expectation for an immediate response, says Rosen, a situation that can become unrealistic and unhealthy.
Here are seven tips for avoiding digital distractions without sacrificing your sales or your reputation.
Schedule time to check emails and texts. If you feel anxious when you can’t check messages on your phone or computer, allow yourself five minutes every hour to catch up on email, texts, and social media messages. Communicate this schedule to your clients or team so they know how often to expect to hear from you.
Curb cell phone compulsion. You eat with it, sleep with it, and bring it to the bathroom. A smartphone provides constant stimulation, says Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. The whole process has the same effect on the mind as a slot machine, he says. You never know what you will get or how good it will be, plus you don’t know when that stimulation will come. He says people look at their phone 300 times a day on average. Taking small steps to alleviate the compulsion can go a long way to relaxing your mind. Try eating a meal without your phone or taking a walk and leaving your phone at home.
Don’t use a smartphone as an alarm clock. Do not sleep with your phone under your pillow or next to you on the nightstand. “We create the illusion that we have to have it right next to us all the time. Buy an alarm clock and leave the phone in another room,” says Greenfield.
Don’t keep your phone near you in the car. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Put your phone in the back seat or leave it in your purse, Greenfield says. Don’t rely on Bluetooth technology as an alternative: 75% of users end up operating other features on their phone while driving, he adds.
Turn notifications off. As long as the notifications are on, you will be anchored to the phone or your computer. Go into your settings to make notification adjustments.
Remove or restrict distracting apps. Do you really need all those apps on your phone? Remove certain apps that are distracting you, or at least move them to the second or third page of your app screen so they aren’t as noticeable, Rosen suggests.
End the rudeness at social gatherings. If you’re having dinner with clients, family, or friends, don’t put your phone on the table in front of you; it becomes priority over the person you’re engaging with. Limit yourself to two minutes in the middle of the evening to check your phone. Aside from that, don’t let it disturb your night, Rosen says.