The Importance of Taking Breaks in an Ever-Connected World
September 28 2016
Smartphones play a significant role in the lives of most Americans. Recent reports show that at least 64 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and 67 percent admit to checking their phone regardless of whether a call or notification comes in.
Why This Technology Is So Addictive
According to Dr. Larry Rosen, professor emeritus at California State University, "smartphones are more of an obsession than an addiction" for most people. The need to quell anxiety and the fear of missing out seem to be the driving forces for excessive smartphone use.
For real estate agents, not keeping the phone handy can translate into the fear of missing the next big deal or client referral. But when pros attend to business around the clock, they miss out on personal connections, stress-relieving downtime and other essentials:
- Sleep -- Smartphones and similar devices emit an artificial blue light that suppresses melatonin production, disrupting your sleep cycle.
- Concentration -- Phone notifications can significantly disrupt focus and performance and lead to more mistakes.
- Creativity -- Studies show that mental downtime or boredom allows your mind to wander, promoting greater creativity.
How to Cut Back on Smartphone Usage
The first step is to recognize the problem. There are several available apps designed to measure your phone usage. Once you know what you're up against, you can create new habits.
Dr. Rosen suggests taking technology breaks. Check your email, messages and apps, and then turn off the phone entirely for 15 minutes. Repeat this process until you're comfortable with the 15-minute breaks. Then start increasing the break times in five-minute increments.Another option is to block out phone-free periods on your calendar. Set up a technology-free bedroom or schedule phone-free meal times with family and friends.