Whenever we think of the distractions on our workplace and try to make a list of most common ones, the thing that gets to every list is ones phone. Thus it is never placed as the number 1 distraction, it still is one of the most frequently happening distraction. If you think what effect would it make on your environment and your productivity, consider giving up your phone for most of the day.
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In fact, why don’t you make an experiment and avoid checking your phone and getting it out unless you are alone. You will be greatly surprised by the impact it can make on everything and everyone. A journalist made the experiment and was eager to share the results with us, and we were stunned.
The first thing that immediately happened when he tried to avoid his telephone when he was at meetings with his co-workers and whenever he was not alone, people around him started copying his behavior. Even the most frequent telephone users that could not have seemed to bare ten minutes without having a glance at their phones, avoided them for almost all the interaction. Thus, the conversation was more productive and they managed to get more questions solved.
Important to note, that the journalist did not ask his colleagues to stay off their phones, nor did he tell them anything about the experiment. What happened is that people subconsciously mimic the behavior of the person they are talking to. Have you ever noticed that if someone you’re speaking to has lost his/her voice and can talk only by whispering, you start talking to them the same way without any obvious reason. Moreover, if you pay attention to two people talking to each other, if they both are eager for the conversation to go great (for example if they are on a date) they will be mimicking poses of each other.
This tactic when used to avoid the most obvious distraction will increase productivity in the team a lot. In fact, productivity rose up to 38% as people avoided the main distraction they have with them almost all the time.
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As the experiment went on, the journalist noticed that not only he was paying more attention to the conversation and the person he was talking to, but people around him became more interested and involved in his life. The ‘itch’ to take the phone out and check e-mails or look through newsfeed of the social media network went away almost the moment the experiment started, and people around him appreciated it very much.
Furthermore, people became trusting him a lot more and his communication skills went over the roof. It seemed not enough to just keep your hands off your phone when talking to somebody. If you are eager to try out this experiment, you should be ready to turn your phone off when you are about to talk to someone, hide your phone in your bag to make it harder to reach. Of course, when you are expecting a very serious call you should be able to reach your phone, but make sure you apologize beforehand to the person you are talking to in case this happens. Most of the times, you may be able to return the call or an e-mail half an hour or even an hour later and nothing horrible will happen.