You wouldn’t put a loaded syringe next to a drug addict and expect him to resist the temptation to use it.
And yet you regularly put your phone next to you, expecting you’ll get anything done worth doing.
Our top performances happen when we’re fully engaged in our work. We focus, stretching ourselves just a little further than we think we’re capable of. Despite the discomfort we stay in the present moment.
The presence of your phone makes top performances nearly impossible.
I can hear your objection already: “Maloney, you’re just another curmudgeon telling us teenagers how addicted we are to our phones.” Yes, I am, but I’m also right, and I can prove it. Take this passage from Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, And Thrive With The New Science Of Success:
“For a study published in The Journal of Social Psychology, researchers asked a group of college students to complete a series of difficult motor tasks when their cell phones were visible. Sure enough, their performance was significantly worse than a control group where participants’ cell phones were not visible. Things got even more interesting when all the participants’ cell phones were removed but the study leader’s cell phone remained present. Incredibly, even when the phone visible wasn’t their own, study participants’ performance suffered.” (p. 63).
My personal strategy: for 80% of the day my phone is on airplane mode and out of my sight.
Out of sight, out of mind.