We live in a busy world. We use our phone to answer emails, incoming calls, and messages around the clock: during meetings, meals, waiting for the bus, walking, waiting in the queue of the market, and even on special occasions and family gatherings. It is often possible to see scenes where parents push a swing with one hand and spend time on the phone with the other. This behavior gives us an idea of how smartphones affect our lives. Staying in touch extends our business hours, reduces our ability to leave work, and leads to damage to our time and productivity as well as our commitment. Many studies to date have focused on these negative consequences and question whether we control our devices.
A study by Harvard Business Review aims to examine this from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the consequences of excessive phone use, it focuses on whether individuals want to change their addictive habits: Do individuals want to control the time they spend on their phones? If so, what strategies do they use?
To answer these questions, a public comment analysis was conducted by LinkedIn users in response to an article explaining the risks of excessive phone use in social interactions. This article forces readers to refrain from using their phone with others for 21 days (the time it takes to develop a new habit). Within a few months, the post received more than 168,000 views. Through these comments, the behavior patterns surrounding the use of the phone and the strategies people use to reduce the time they spend with their phones and the motivations that drive these strategies are identified.
Accordingly, the various strategies discovered based on the four main motivations that emerged in the research were classified into four categories:
Motivation 1: Improving performance at work or home
About a quarter of the 941 commentators sought to reduce the amount of time an employee, a spouse or a parent spends on their phones to improve their performance. For example, some people want to improve their focus on work and others want to be more active at home and family activities. Strategies for doing so ranged between degrees of difficulty.
● Not to buy mobile phones
● Not activating cellular data
● Set the phone to silent during meetings
● Do not place the phone where it can see
The best strategy was to keep the phone out of sight. Thus, they stated that they were aware of the events and situations that developed around them, that they were more focused and focused on the people around them.
Motivation 2: Creating a personal digital philosophy
About 30% of commentators wanted to create and implement a digital philosophy about the role technology plays in their lives. Interestingly, a few people in this group were inspired by disconnections from unwanted events, such as broken phones, loss of signal, or running out of battery. These events were important milestones that inspired deep reflections.
● Buy a phone with basic features
● Only use a landline phone while at work
● Strict rules for colleagues, partners or children
The strategy that gave the best results was the last. Setting the rules was very effective for this group. As one commentator said, “My mobile phone is a helpful business tool. I control him, he doesn’t control me. ”
Motivation 3: Minimizing unwanted social behavior
About a quarter of the commentators tried to avoid looking rude in their relationship with people and not to be ashamed of their phones distracting them in public spaces.
● Access e-mails via a web browser instead of an e-mail application
● Disable notifications
● Imprisonment of a person caught in his / her phone during social meetings (such as paying the account)
Although no specific strategy was preferred in this category, it was said that the most effective was to disable notifications. Commentators claimed that doing so increased their control over the phones. Besides, they said the final strategy was a good way to produce fun and positive emotions among colleagues and friends.
Motivation 4: Identifying priorities in family and relationships
Fewer than 20% of reviewers wanted to avoid losing the compassion of friends, family, and other important people as a result of their phone habits. Many people in this group inspired family members to limit their phone use. One person commented, “I was accused of being married to my phone and not paying attention to the people around me.”
● To follow their behavior to develop more self-awareness in phone use
● Regularly remind yourself what are the priorities in life, who should pay the most attention to social interaction, and what are the risks associated with uncontrolled use.
● Share the problem of using the phone with people around you and look for the most effective strategy.
Interpreters had different views on which strategies would be most effective in this category. Following their behavior was considered an effective way to develop awareness to change unwanted behaviors later. Similarly, reminding her priorities was particularly helpful to commentators with a prominent family identity. For example, one person wrote: My employer does not allow the use of mobile phones. […] Then I realized that if I could do it for my employer, could I do it for my sons? ”
Using a phone is an easy action, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to control them either. While not every strategy works for every person, finding which one is right for you is the first step in successfully limiting your phone use. If you have a goal in mind, first ask yourself what the reasons for making your decision are, and then think about the best way.