I’ve often wondered if I could be a better leader if I was less connected to email, google, news feeds and apps through my smartphone. I try not to be rude about my smartphone use. I try hard to not check it during business meetings or when I’m in a conversation with someone else. I was particularly struck by our connection to smartphones the other day during a family meal. We were having a conversation. I looked away from the table for a second and when I turned back EVERYONE in my family had their head down looking at their smartphone. This was frustrating and eye opening.
I decided to document the number of times per day I check my phone and the approximate amount of time per day I spend engaged with my phone and not the people around me. Here are the results:
- I check my smartphone approximately 14 times per day.
- I spend approximately one hour per day checking email, calendar items, news, weather, etc on my smartphone
Those numbers don’t sound so staggering. They’re significantly less than most people. However, the fact remains that time could be spent engaging people in face to face conversations to solve problems, create opportunities, or just make people around me feel valued.
I wondered if many business leaders disconnect themselves by not having smartphones or not using them during certain times. Guess what – some do! Here is an article by Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BALFOR about that very topic.
Technology has improved our lives in so many ways. I wonder though if there isn’t a case to be made for improving quality of life and productivity by stepping back from some technology.
I challenge you to measure how many times per day you use your smartphone for activities other than phone calls and how much time that takes. Then try to spend a day without the smartphone and see if your quality of life and productivity in business is affected.
That’s my next step! I’ll let you know if I’m brave enough to do it and what the results are.