By Adrienne Mollor

We have all heard of and maybe tried to address habit changing challenges such as the 21 Day Fix, 30-day ab challenge, fit arms in 15 or maybe even used an App to make change.  We track our eating, exercise, sleep and other habits with our smart devices or in journals to better understand our patterns and derailers. This type of personal accountability seems easier with the assistance of a plan or coach. Now I ask, have you every tracked your phone/technology activity?

Trends demonstrate that people are reacting more to their phones than to other people. We are becoming less empathetic and understanding. We are not being present with others. We view our phones as an extension of ourselves. Think about it, how much time do people spend personalizing their phones – cases, screens, apps, tones, settings? We keep our phones with us at all times making us always “on”. Instead of asking a friend or colleague for a recommendation for a restaurant or shop, we google and read faceless reviews.  Missed a show you wanted to see, don’t worry, you can watch it on your phone. What is the cost to ourselves? Our relationships? Our time? How does it impact our ability to listen, connect, influence, help, build trust or have effective relationships?

Here are some behaviors to think about and recognize:

You look at your phone while talking to someone

This is a red flag that no one appreciates and is quite disrespectful. The people talking to you will get the feeling you are not interested in what they are saying and, if you do this to someone a couple of times, chances are that that person is going to start avoiding you or not coming to you for your input.

The first thing you do when you get somewhere is charge your phone

If someone is in the room, stop & pause, look the person in the eye, and say hello. Ask how they are doing. Connect, interact, then charge your phone!

 You fall asleep holding your smartphone

If you cannot let go of your smartphone before you go to bed, and you like to put yourself to sleep while doing something on it, are you truly decompressing? Are you getting enough or quality sleep, or are you having a restless feeling you forgot to do something or worrying about an on-line interaction?  Research has showed we should be “shutting down” at least 20-30 minutes before going to bed to ensure we achieve a good quality of sleep.

The first thing you do in the morning is check your phone
Is your first impulse in the morning to grab your phone and check if you have any messages, calls or notifications, check social media to see what has happened in the lives of some people you have not spoken to in years? What about using that time to connect with your those in your household?   How about reflecting on what you want to accomplish that day, that week?  What are your thoughts for self-development, self-awareness, your goal for how you will show up today?

You feel anxious when your phone is not with you

There is a great chance that you are addicted to your smartphone and the interaction of being on-line, if you are unable to leave it out of your sight for any length of time. Leave your phone down. Be present with people in meetings, when you are speaking with them, even if it’s virtually, look to initiate conversation. Connect, listen, be engaged.

You can’t put the phone down when you are on vacation

Are you spending quality time with your family, friends, others, yourself? Are you relaxing, recharging or feel the insatiable need to stay connected or be needed?  Remember a “vacation” is a scheduled period during which activity is suspended. Give yourself a vacation from your phone.

We have seen a recent increase in our clients working with their teams and employees to increase personal awareness. We are addressing challenges with teams on having effective communications, time management, coaching and team dynamics.

I challenge you to track your phone usage and habits for 5 days. Make sure you take into account the time of day, where you are, are you looking at FB, Pinterest, work email, etc.? What was the sacrifice of the time you spent on your phone? What else could you have done? What creative idea could you have spent time one? Time is our biggest barrier in achieving our goals. How much more time can you create by reallocating time on technology?  Let’s see if this challenge can help you create more productive time to accomplish your goals!!

About MCG Partners

MCG Partners is a leadership and talent optimization firm– aligning your business and people strategy for maximum results. MCG Partners a woman-owned consultancy and is also a Predictive Index® (PI®) certified partner. To learn more please contact Stephanie Holmgren at stephanie.holmgren@mcgpartners.com and at mcgpartners.com

Read Chuck's latest book: The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can You Make the Shift. Click to read more about it.

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