It's Official: Our Phones Are Sabotaging Our Careers

It's Official: Our Phones Are Sabotaging Our Careers

When I started my very first job out of college, I tried to do the responsible thing and stash my phone away in my desk drawer, leaving myself 100% present for my work tasks.

That lasted all of two days.

And if you have the willpower to resist checking your phone while filing memos to your boss, good for you! But you're in the minority — by a long shot. According to an OfficeTeam survey of 600 people, workers spend an average of five hours a week on their phones attending to non-work matters, from online shopping to social-media stalking to checking personal email.

These distractions, coupled with the three hours a week people spend running errands, adds up to eight hours of lost productivity a week per person. That's a loss of $15.5 billion.

Before your boss takes issue with your constant texting, keep distractions at bay with these tips.

Get it off your desk — seriously. Out of sight, out of mind really works here — as long as you stick to it. Turn it off all the way so you'll have to power up every time you want to add something to your InstaCart.

Restrict it for emergencies. If you need to be on call for a family emergency, consider using a wearable to get only a quick digest of your alerts. Or, set up a specific ring tone or vibration pattern for VIP-only contacts.

Hash it out IRL. If you find yourself spending half your day texting your partner what to order for dinner, think how much time you could save by debating the best Thai place on the block in-person instead. You'll get your work done faster, be home earlier and resolve issues quicker.

Schedule phone breaks. Most people can only work 90 minutes at a time before their attention levels drop. If you're going to check your phone, schedule it for a time you'll need a mental break anyway. Just remember to set a "break time's over!" alert, too.

Zone out instead. If checking your phone is leaving you more distracted than ever, zone out instead. Really! A little idle time sitting back in your chair or taking a lap around the office can be more restorative than seeing what new Tweetstorm is brewing — and that surely won't help you do a mental re-set anyway.

RELATED: Is Multitasking Killing Your Productivity? Try Monotasking Instead

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