:Mindset / Productivity

Hacks for staying on task (and off your phone)

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Did you know that the average person spends over five hours on their phones daily? The top 10% of smartphone users pick up their phones over 5,000 times a day. As a creator, you may find yourself constantly picking up your phone to check off tasks like promoting your business on social media (which may be a considerable part of your content marketing strategy). Although work is important, self-care is equally, if not more, important to your overall success. If this is you, you may be in need of some time-tested productivity hacks to stay on track.

Sometimes there’s a thin line between grabbing your phone to engage with your audience and becoming a victim of mindless scrolling. With phone apps being addictive by nature (hello, dopamine boost), it’s more important than ever to use them with intention and not let them take control of the time you can spend being more productive or doing something good for your wellbeing. 

Before learning to let go of your smartphone, you need to understand your current phone habits. Take the time to dig into how long you’re using your phone every day and which specific apps you’re spending the most time on. Seeing your phone usage in hours may open your eyes to just how much time you’re “losing” by mindless scrolling on your smartphone.

After all, numbers don’t lie. To check your daily phone usage, head into “Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls” settings if you’re an Android user or “Screentime” if you’re an iPhone user. The numbers may shock you, but own it and commit to shifting how you use your phone by trying out a few of the below phone productivity hacks. 

Turn off all phone notifications

There’s nothing that will call your attention more quickly to your cell phone than an app alert. These app notifications make us feel like we must reach for our phone to see what’s going on before it’s too late. Hint—it’s never too late.  If staying on task is your goal, you must leave the FOMO behind by turning off app notifications.

Pro-tip: Many smartphones allow you to set “quiet“ hours, which will pause all notifications during your specified time window. Try doing this to slowly but surely give your phone some downtime. 

Practice not starting or ending your day scrolling through your feeds

Our phones are sometimes the last thing we see before bed and the first thing we interact with in the morning. Instead of always having your phone at an arm’s reach, keep your phone away from your bed and in time in a completely different room. The further you are from your phone, the less your brain will crave it—out of sight, out of mind. Practice this often, even if that means buying an actual alarm clock instead of using your phone. 

Create “business hours” for the social media accounts that support your business

Social media is active 24 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean you have to be—even if it’s for your business. Instead of posting or checking your social media at random times of the day, create a strict schedule of when you’ll perform specific social media-related tasks. Some tasks to consider scheduling time for include:

  • Responding to comments and messages
  • Posting new content
  • Engaging with your followers
  • Social listening

Try adding “unplug” days to your schedule

The idea of not using your phone for a full 24 hours sounds almost impossible to some, but it’s worth trying to help you spend less time behind the screen. Start by just setting unplug hours where you don’t reach for your phone for any reason. Then move on to a full day.

If you find yourself overthinking what you may be missing out on, try putting your phone on airplane mode as a way to remind yourself to get back to the task at hand. Unplugging will give you back more time to do things that you love or have been procrastinating on due to “not having enough time.”

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Consider having separate business and personal phones 

Raise your hand if you use your personal phone for your business as well. Now, raise your hand if your phone is overloaded with apps for both your personal and business endeavors. If you ever find yourself posting on your business social media page one minute, then checking the “New In” section of your favorite shopping app the next, it may be time to consider getting a business phone. Another productivity hack we recommend is to only download necessary apps on your business phone, so the chances of you falling off task are limited. 

Make it a habit to put your phone on a timeout

Building small habits is the key to truly breaking up the dependent relationship with your phone. When you’re around people, whether with the family during the holidays or a meet-up with a fellow creator, make it a point to engage in real-time and not reach for your phone every few minutes. Time is valuable, and so is building relationships—make sure not to dedicate that valuable time to mindless scrolling. 

Turn your phone off

When in doubt, turn your phone completely off to ensure that all distractions are removed. You’d be surprised at how grabbing your phone to realize that it’s powered off forces you to think about the reason you reached for your phone in the first place (and if it was to complete a necessary task or just for a dopamine fix). 

One day at a time

No matter which route you take, don’t get down on yourself about your current inability to back away from the devices. Take it one day at a time. Work your way towards having a healthier relationship with your phone by using these productivity hacks to help get you there.

Author: Mika Robinson, Mika is a NYC-based lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. When she’s not creating content on her blog, astoldbymika.com, she’s somewhere in the digisphere writing content for your favorite platforms and go-to brands.

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