Picture credit ‘Garry Knight’ under licence from Creative Commons,
Because that is how often on average we check them, according to research from a group of universities led by Lincoln.
Quite apart from the fact that it really can’t leave much time for doing anything else productive, it is having a massive impact on our communication with others.
Research has shown that constant use of technology can affect attention levels and memory, curb creativity, increase stress levels and impact the quality of our sleep. It can also lead to what one report highlighted as “cognitive errors” such as missing meetings or walking into people (especially if it is Pokemon Go you are playing!)
And at its most fundamental, it stops us talking to each other.
Having a conversation through any written channel – text, WhatsApp, email…is fraught with possibilities for misunderstanding. People often express feelings in stronger terms when they are hiding behind tweets or emails, than they would when face to face with someone.
Face to face we read the other person’s reactions, we respond to non-verbal cues and adapt our approach. None of this happens with written communication.
In addition to the misinterpretation which can take place, there is the frustration of trying to have a conversation with someone when they are constantly checking their phone. The other person may feel they are still listening, but that is not the message that they will be sending out… rather the message will be “there is actually something more important to me on my phone, than listening to what you have to say…” Not great for building trusting relationships.
But how do you change this behaviour? Corporate policies to ban emails outside of work, good role modeling from managers all help, but ultimately it is a conscious change which is needed by the individual. It is breaking a habit. It takes sustained effort.
So the first step is to see if you can identify just how often you do look at your phone - the Lincoln university research showed that the reality was double what participants estimated.
So why not write it down each time you look at your phone and see...
And then try…
Whatever you do, make it a conscious decision – and see how your communication improves!
And for more information on how we can help you and your teams change behaviour to be more productive and collaborative, call us for a confidential chat on 01903 732 782 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Stella Chandler and I founded Focal Point on a shared belief that a training course run in isolation doesn't work. We passionately believe there must be support both before and after the training or coaching session itself for it to make a difference. When I am not facilitating sessions with clients or looking at ways to grow the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...