Smartphones: Out of Sight, Peace of Mind?

An article from the Behavioral Scientist, brainchild of the folks at Ideas42, explains the role our phones play in our sustained attention. You can read the entire article here. See below for our takeaways on how to take back control of our attention and productivity:

- Keep your phone out of view (i.e., in your desk, in your pocket, etc.). This is shown to significantly reduce the chances you will become off task or do a poor job of multi-tasking (that's not a thing, by the way). Our phones act as visual cues that trigger us to think of other tasks and activities, thereby causing distraction. 

- Free yourself of social media distractions. It takes about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to completely regain refocus on a task after being distracted, even for just a few seconds (i.e.,"Let-me-fire-off-this-email-really-quick" syndrome).

- Apps don't make us happy. Case and point from former Google employees James Williams and Tristan Harris:


- The good news is that apps can make us happy, as long as we are using them as tools to make our lives more peaceful, organized and/or meaningful. 


- And, as fellow behavior scientists, we love this last quote on how the tech industry uses the principles of human behavior to keep us scrolling (and how to regain control):

In the battle for attention, we are fighting an army of experts—and they’re winning. Our best chance to fight back is by making changes to the battlefield itself (i.e., our workspace) that minimizes potential distractions, increases focus, and allows us (or our human boss) to take control of the office once again.
— Kristian and Mikkel Holm Sorensen