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Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our smartphone.
We love the fact that it makes us more efficient. We hate the extent to which it controls us.
But there’s a deeper, more fundamental problem at play here – for some people, smartphones lead not only to distraction but to burnout and reduced motivation. Ultimately, they reduce productivity rather than increase it.
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And it gets worse. A growing number of users’ relationship with their smartphone fits the classic definition of addiction, causing the same outcomes as alcoholism, drug use, gambling or overeating … obsessive preoccupation, continued use despite negative consequences and denial. Extreme smartphone use meets another criterion for addiction – immediate gratification and short-term rewards, coupled with delayed negative effects and long-term costs.
Happily, there is a solution. Recent research has unveiled a simple strategy that allows users to enjoy the benefits of smartphones while significantly reducing the negative effects.
Addressing always-on fatigue
Harvard Business School faculty member Leslie Perrow has studied this issue at length. And in her recent book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24-7 Habit and Change the Way You Work, she described a successful experiment that addressed the mental fatigue that accompanies an always-on psyche.