Your smartphone, the internet, and technology in general can be huge productivity sucks. They’re all essential, of course—it goes without saying that it’d be tough to get a lot of work done without all three. But at the same time, they can be a big drain for your time and attention. For example, when you consider that:
- Studies show you spend 47% of your time online procrastinating
- The average person is incredibly distracted, and checks their email more than 50 times a day, and switches to IM 77 times a day
- Interruptions and the time it takes to recover from them consume on average 28% of your day
- Each interruption to our work has been shown to cost you 25 minutes of productivity
… it doesn’t take much digging to see how bittersweet technology can be for your productivity.
But with that said, it is possible to control when you spend time and attention on things like your smartphone, the internet, and technology in general, by becoming more deliberate about separating from all three.
A couple of weeks ago, after thinking a bit about how technology has made me work a lot less deliberately and a lot more often on autopilot, I came up with the simple idea of turning my bedroom into a Internet Free Zone, and my office into a Smartphone Free Zone. I took out a couple sheets of paper, scribbled the words Internet Free Zone and Smartphone Free Zone on each of them, and taped them to my bedroom and office doors to remind myself of the boundaries.
It was a simple hack, but it worked, and after adjusting over a couple of days I was able to focus that much better in each environment. Planting cues in your environment can be powerful—especially when they prompt you to live and work more productively.
This week, I decided to take the idea a few steps further, and asked a designer to illustrate a few printable posters for this idea—so you can do the same, and cordon off your office, boardroom, bedroom, meeting room, living room, or any other room in your life as a smartphone, internet, or technology free zone.
Productivity is often a process of becoming more deliberate about how you live and work, and over the last couple of weeks these signs have turned into the perfect cue for me to step back, disconnect, and most importantly, become more productive.
It’s a simple idea, but your productivity will thank you.
Note: Clicking on an image below will open a printable PDF of the sign in a new window.
Illustration credit: the insanely talented Sinisa Sumina at bravedodo.com.