Brighton Leadership Group

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Are You an Addict or Extremely Attached?

Have you found yourself reaching into your pocket for your phone more and more frequently? Have you felt the terror of being unable to locate your mobile phone?
We’ve all heard about the dangers of texting and driving. There’s more to the phone crisis than just texting. WSJ recently ran an excellent article, “How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds.” It shared research which suggests that as the brain grows dependent on phone technology, the intellect weakens.
An addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming. Phones are addictive because they fire up our brains’ reward systems. Email creates satisfaction due to what psychologists call “variable ratio reinforcement.” We never know when we’ll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. The same is true of all the apps, sites and social media content we consume.
Crazy Statistics

  • 70% said they check their smartphone within an hour of getting up. From a study conducted by Leslie A. Perlow, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School. Her book Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work gives insight into how to have more personal time and get more done…in spite of your cell phone!
  • According to the data Apple collects, people pull their phone out and check it up to 80 times a day. Even if your use is half that of a typical user, that’s almost 15,000 times a year that you’ll be looking at your phone.

The impact of your cell phone attachment

  • Shortchanged Relationships – merely having a phone in your hand may degrade social interactions. When we’re talking with people in person, the presence of a phone distracts and leaves conversations shallower and less satisfying. A study reported in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, “the presence of a cell phone inhibited the development of interpersonal closeness and trust.”
  • Busted Brainpower – Results of several studies evidence that the “mere presence” of a cell phone may be sufficiently distracting to produce diminished attention and deficits in task-performance, especially for tasks with greater attentional and cognitive demands. The division of attention impedes your ability to reason and solve problems.
  • Increased Stress – how do you feel when a cell phone is making a noise and you can’t stop it? Studies show that when you can’t answer a buzzing, ringing or noisy phone, your blood pressure goes up and your concentration goes down.

Our hope for you is that you’d control your technology rather than your technology controlling you. Here are a few clues that your phone may be using you:

  • Your phone is your security blanket. When you want to avoid a conversation, you pick up the phone and respond to unimportant emails, check Facebook or randomly peruse your apps for something interesting.
  • Your phone is the first and last thing you see each day.
  • You panic, feel anxious or suffer from withdrawal when your phone isn’t near you.
  • You must carry a charger or an additional battery supply because your power is drained part way through the day.
  • You check for emails, Instagram posts, and texts even when you didn’t get a notification, just in case you are missing out.

We suggest that you take regular “predictable time off” (PTO) from your mobile devices. According to Sleeping with Your Cellphone, this results in increased efficiency and collaboration, heightened job satisfaction, and better work-life balance.

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