The results were striking: individuals who completed these tasks while their phones were in another room performed the best, followed by those who left their phones in their pockets. In last place were those whose phones were on their desks. We saw similar results when participants’ phones were turned off: people performed worst when their phones were nearby, and best when they were away in a separate room. Thus, merely having their smartphones out on the desk led to a small but statistically significant impairment of individuals’ cognitive capacity—on par with effects of lacking sleep.
I have tried getting away from my phone many times. Maybe you have as well. But we all usually have it handy no matter where we are. Mine is sitting 10 inches away from me, on my desk and face down as I type. This is probably why I’m having trouble focusing! And the “Phantom Buzz” is real!
Putting down my wonderful supercomputer is difficult, especially since I own and run a business. The biggest problem for me is my phone is a music hub, Podcast machine, and source of reading material, the three things I love most. I quit social media, turn off notifications and check email mostly at work. Therefore I don’t scroll as much as others might, but the action of REALLY getting away can be difficult.
However, when I seriously think about it, there are times of the day where making the effort to disconnect would be beneficial for my sanity. Increasing the frequency is something to work on. One example being, when I take walks I do my best to leave my phone behind and just enjoy the outdoors.
The task is much easier to write than to actually perform.