One of my goals for 2017 is to write more often for the site. I’ll still be posting one job search article each Monday and I’ll be adding in a second weekly post each Thursday. The Thursday post will be aligned with a few new (but related) themes:
- Ask-a-recruiter: Where I’ll interview other recruiters (and hiring managers) so you can hear their advice and perspective (if you’d like to be featured, email me here)
- Job seeker success stories: Where I’ll interview former clients and readers who have successfully landed a job. I’ll be asking about their experiences job searching from what was the most frustrating to what actually worked! (if you’d like to be featured, email me here)
- The balance: A series on some outside of work stuff that certainly impacts work and productivity
- Career advice round-up: A monthly round-up of the best career and job search articles I’ve read
First up, an article from the series The Balance.
This year I’m trying to spend less time on my phone. The amount of time I sink into that screen has gotten to a bad place and it’s at the point where it’s hurting my productivity and focus.
If you’re also feeling like the phone use has gotten a tad out of control, here are some things that have been helping me wrangle this so far. While I have in no way solved this, these are a few steps that have helped.
Assess the damage
The first key to all of this is to assess the real damage. I noticed that I was spending a lot of time looking at my phone almost mindlessly — multitasking while I was doing other things. Honestly, I didn’t even know how much time per day I was looking at the screen.
I found the app Moment and have been using it for the past few weeks to keep track of this. It’s a free app but I paid the $3.99 for the pro features, which well worth it.
So now I can see exactly how much time I’m sinking into my phone and while I’m never going to be anti-phone, I can be objective about the true daily damage.
I’m not really sure what’s “normal” as far as time spent on a phone per day but a decrease is what I’m going for. I’m not looking to go cold turkey, but I also want to stop aimlessly scrolling through Instagram while I’m also watching TV (don’t judge).
Find the big culprits and cut down
The next thing is to find the biggest culprits of the aimless scrolling. The Moment app will tell you that too but I didn’t need it to. I knew where my problem was – social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook.
Over the holiday break, I was challenged to a week long freeze on both and I went for it. I deleted both apps from my phone that night and didn’t look at either channel for a week.
I thought I would suffer through it (missing all those great holiday and NYE pics!) but I honestly didn’t miss them as much as I thought. When the seven days were up, I was excited to scroll through and see what I missed, but I check those apps SO much less now.
The freeze might sound extreme but for me, it really helped. After telling my friend Tina about it, she did her own freeze with Twitter (her kryptonite) and had the exact experience I did. It wasn’t at all a struggle and it totally helped her cut down post-freeze.
I also think being more mindful about HOW many times you open whatever apps are your most-used is helpful in itself. Even if you love Instagram, what benefit are you REALLY going to get by opening it 15 times a day?
Keep it out of sight
There are definitely times where it’s appropriate to have your phone totally out of sight and out of mind – pretty much any time you’re doing something with someone else (dinner, having a conversation, etc).
This is one tactic I haven’t fully committed to yet but actually keeping your phone in your bag or putting it in another room is an easy way to stay fully present.
I’ll report back.
Don’t take it to bed
I’ve read that you shouldn’t take your phone into your bedroom (or look at it in bed) about 1 million times but that is one nasty habit I can’t cut.
I’m not a troubled sleeper and doing this doesn’t seem to keep me up. But apparently, I’m wrong, it’s science, etc.
As I was looking for a few articles on this topic (here and here if you’re interested) I came across what might be the most ridiculous product of all time, which is a little mini bed for your phone.
No, I don’t think your phone needs its own little bed. Yes, I think there is probably a benefit to keeping it out of the bedroom.
Because I can’t help myself, let’s link this back to job searching and your career for a moment. For the chronically busy, maybe this is a place we should all consider stealing some time from.
If you spent 3 fewer hours on your phone each week (and even didn’t miss it), how much more could you accomplish in your job search? And how much faster would it be done with?
If you spent less time on your phone at work, could you go home an hour earlier every night? If you picked up a book on something you wanted to learn instead of the 8th daily scroll through Snapchat, could you get promoted faster?
I’m far from perfect on this, but it’s some good food for thought (which I will be challenging myself on as well).
Have ideas for future articles on balance/productivity or the other series? Drop me a note at [email protected].