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We live in a world where our devices seem to have complete and utter control over us.  They interrupt us at dinner, relaxing and spending time with our family and friends.  According to research firm dscout, the average user touches their phone 2,617 times a day, while last year Apple revealed that iPhone users unlock their phone around 80 times every 24 hours.

Ryan Holiday. in his book Stillness Is the Key, explains that all great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality; to avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness; to be steady while the world spins around you.

Achieving stillness is not a recent problem, it is a perennial experience of the human experience. However, our phones that deliver 24/7 news, email and social media are not conducive to achieving stillness.  Jory MacKay has four ways to tame your phone and remain productive.

Tips to tame your phone

  1. Create distance between you and your phone to lessen your habit of “Checking in”. Leave your phone in your bag or in a draw rather than in your pocket and don’t keep it next to your bed at night.
  2. Remove immediate triggers from your home screen to stay on task. Remove distracting apps or turn off their notifications, you can even turn your phone greyscale to remove the colour triggers from app icons.
  3. Practice better phone hygiene to set standards around focus and attention. Don’t use your phone in meetings and don’t send work emails out of hours.
  4. Use a tool to help understand and control your actual usage. There are plenty of tools you can use to either add friction to your phone usage or track the time you spend on it for an accurate picture of just how much it’s impacting your workday.

It is easy to blame our phones as the source of all our distractions and unhappiness. But the truth is that they are useful tools that help increase our productivity, giving us the flexibility to work when and how we want to, and capture creative ideas quickly and in the moment.

I can’t say I follow all these rules, but I am developing a healthier relationship with my phone.

Do you have any tips you use to get the most out of your phone?

Photo credit: Getty Images