Put Down Your Phone to Be Happy and Successful

Roll your eyes all you want: Smartphone addiction is real, and many of us have it. A Harvard Business School study found that 70 percent of surveyed professionals look at their phone within an hour of getting up, 56 percent check their phone within an hour of going to bed, and 48 percent check their phone on the weekend. The result of this is that many working people are essentially always plugged into their jobs.

turn off your phone 

(Photo Credit: Kai Hendry/Flickr)

In her book Sleeping With Your Smartphone, Harvard Business School professor Leslie A. Perlow offers the result of a study she and her research associate Jessica Porter performed with The Boston Consulting Group. As an experiment, Perlow and Porter asked a six-person team at BCG to declare certain times of the week as "predictable time off" -- in other words, real time away from their job, in which they wouldn't answer or make phone calls, emails, or texts.

The results were surprising, and so successful, that BCG rolled out the experiment to most of the staff in its Boston office. The team members who participated reported the following results to Perlow and Porter, four years after the initial experiment:

  • 51 percent (versus 27 percent) were excited to start work in the morning
  • 72 percent (versus 49 percent) were satisfied with their job
  • 54 percent (versus 38 percent) were satisfied with their work-life balance
  • 91 percent (versus 76 percent) rated their team as collaborative
  • 65 percent (versus 42 percent) rated their team as doing everything it could to be efficient
  • 74 percent (versus 51 percent) rated their team as doing everything it could to be effective

Bottom line? If you want to be more successful at work and at home, the best thing you can do is to declare phone-free, work-free hours in the day. Your co-workers and family will thank you for it.

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