Is Your Cell Phone Hindering Your Work Performance?

As a working mother, I often say that I run two businesses. One, I am the CEO of my company Sara Grillo Enterprises. Two, I am the CEO of my household. Actually, not only am I the CEO of the latter, I am also the CFO, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Facilities Engineer, Documentation Specialist, and much, much more.

The cell phone runs the risk of consuming more time that it saves. There are days when I want to throw my phone out the window, in fact, because of how much of a hindrance it can be to my work. The following five tips will help you control your technology, to ensure that the benefit of being “always plugged in” outweighs the cost.

1. Stop obsessively checking your phone, tablet, etc.

Technology is ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean you have to be addicted to it. I limit my checking to five minutes every hour, and I schedule it for the first five minutes of the hour. So for example, I check from 10:00 to 10:05. This way I can ensure that I’m not distracted by constantly diverting my gaze to the screen while I’m doing my work. Now, of course there are exceptions to this rule. When Antonio is with the baby and he calls three times in a row, I have to answer because it could be an emergency. But that is not the norm, thank goodness.

2. Put your phone away during the non checking times.

I leave my phone in a drawer when it’s not that five minute window period. I can still hear it ring (that way I can answer in an emergency) but it’s not in my line of vision to distract me.

3. Train your team. Sit down with your partner and draw up some guidelines.

If the baby has a fever, Antonio can call. If the baby can’t find her favorite bunny rabbit stuffed animal, the call can wait 45 minutes until my checking time. Now, like any training program, the results are not immediate. You are still going to get calls asking “where did you put my cell phone charger?” In order to make this training program effective, you may have to administer some tough love and ignore the calls, equipping your partner with the pediatrician’s phone number and hoping for the best.


4. Educate your clients.

It is a tremendous advantage to my clients, for example, that I am up at 5 AM everyday. A major client of mine has an international business, so I’m game to be on calls with the UK at the crack of dawn (I’m already awake!), which enables me to deliver better service. Those early morning hours and great because you can talk to your clients before rush hour, so to speak. However, on the flip side, I have to be upfront about the fact that there are certain times when I can not be reached. For example, between 5:30 and 7 PM is dinner/bath/getting ready for bed time for my family. By openly communicating with clients and not trying to hide things, we make it work.

5. Disable Real Time Message Updating.

In our “always plugged in” society we have become addicted to quick communications. It creates a distracted and frenetic mindset that can at times interfere with thinking straight. If someone is emailing or texting you, it can wait 15 minutes until your inbox updates. If it’s an emergency then they should have called. Even though you can respond right away, when it comes to important matters the recipient will appreciate a well thought out response, even if it they have to wait for it!