Studies have been going on for years about how mobile devices can affect our health and our productivity. Apple and Google have recently started to implement more features to help us users. Below are our top tips for reducing your stress levels, improving your health and making you more productive by changing settings on your iPhones and Android devices.
Tip 1: Tun off notifications
Everyday Billions of notifications are sent to mobile devices the world over. Many of these devices have no real requirement and just cause users to stop and read them. Studies have shown that people with push notifications turned off are more productive. (“Silence your phones”: Smartphone notifications increase inattention and hyperactivity symptoms”)
You can easily set notification preferences per app, reducing the number of distractions you receive a day.
To change your notification settings go to: Settings > Notifications
To change your notifications settings in Android go to: Settings > Notifications
Tip 2: Set time limits to certain apps
Some apps on your phone can become a drain on time, whether it is your favourite game, social media or work emails. We have long known about the effects of using smart devices on people’s back’s and necks and the effect it can cause on people’s sleep. For the last few years, many smartphones have had the options to set limits on the worst offending apps.
You can often set this per category or per app and if you want you can still override it.
iOS Screen time
To change the settings in iOS to setup screen time go to: Settings > Screen time
Android Digital Wellbeing
To enable this on Android go to: Settings> Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls
Tip 3: Separate work and personal
We all need time to switch off regardless of whether it is evenings or weekends, but emails and other work notifications can get in the way. It would be nice to have two phones but that is not always practical.
We recommend that if nothing else users look to separate their work and their personal emails. We suggest using the built-in app for your personal emails and then the Microsoft Outlook App for work emails (for 365 customers – if you are a Google workspace user then there are similar apps). This immediately separates your emails so you wont get drawn into replying to a work email when you are checking on status of your amazon order. You can also then separate out your notifications between the two apps so that you are not bothered by work emails at all when you are off.
The Microsoft Outlook app also has a number of other features that are designed for work including improved security.
Why should you care?
Health and money. Your health matters, we have no idea as to the long-term effects smartphones will have on our bodies and our brains. Some studies have shown that some people find ways to interrupt themselves as quickly as just 20 seconds in to settling into focused work, could that be down to the number of disruptions in our modern workplaces (How Do Interruptions Affect Productivity? | SpringerLink).
Ultimately our bottom line, as businesses rely on us being productive. The more we can achieve with less the better it is.
While researching this article I found that researchers have found that even the presence of your phone can reduce your available cognitive capacity. (Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity | Journal of the Association for Consumer Research: Vol 2, No 2 (uchicago.edu)) It might be worth considering putting your phone out of the way every now and again.