A huge reason why many folks are addicted to their smart phones is to stay connected at work: Constantly checking in, responding to emails, and staying abreast to what's going on, even during off hours like dinnertime. "Smart phone addiction could be replacing smoking as the No. 1 way to bind your anxiety," says Doris Jeanette, Psy.D and teacher at the Center for the New Psychology in Philadelphia.
What's next—a "no smartphone" section of the restaurant? It doesn't have to come to that. Check out the following ways to fight your smart phone addiction and receive a little balance:
1. Pinpoint your anxiety. As Jeanette says, your smartphone addiction is a result of some sort of anxiety. "So the solution is to reduce your anxiety so you can sit still and be with yourself and others instead of engaging in highly anxious behaviors," she says.
So, whether it's meeting your deadlines, yearning for that promotion, or dealing with annoying co-workers—try determining the top sources of your anxiety, then address those first instead of trying to go cold turkey.
2. Track your habit. If you're constantly checking your phone for personal matters (Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, etc.) during work, first evaluate how bad the problem is. Sure, it only takes about a minute to refresh your personal email or check out who just wrote on your wall—but these minutes add up. One simple way to track your phone use is to simply keep a notepad nearby. Mark one tally for each time you find yourself picking up your cell.
3. Try leaving it at home. A smart phone offers instant access to notifications, messages, and news for both personal and professional lives.
Leaving it at home for an entire work day will help you focus on work. The truth is—you don't need it. If your family needs to contact you in case of an emergency, give them your work phone number and email address.
Plan out your day and figure out alternative solutions to situations that you'd normally need your phone. For instance, remember back in the day when printing out MapQuest directions was the norm?
4. Use the Predictable Time Off (PTO) method. The PTO method proposes that you disconnect from all technology for a few hours each week. Leslie Perlow, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, developed the PTO method after extensive research and experimentation. She published her findings in the book Sleeping With Your Smartphone, having discovered that employees who decidedly disconnected for a set period of time were more productive and happier than folks who stayed plugged in. According to Perlow's study, 72 percent of employees practicing the PTO method were more satisfied with their jobs, compared to 49 percent who didn't try PTO.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.