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What productive people do instead of reaching for their phones

Author says phones create ‘pressure to respond to texts and emails when other people want you to, rather than when it’s convenient’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 1:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 1:55pm

Various studies have found that the average person checks their phone between 50 and 150 times per day. But Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” suggests in a LinkedIn post that truly productive people reach for their pocket notebooks instead.

Here’s why it’s far more productive to grab a journal instead of your phone:

1. Checking your phone forces you to be more reactive than pro-active

“It creates pressure to respond to texts and emails when other people want you to, rather than when it’s convenient for you.”

Writing in your notebook, however, puts you back in control of your communication. “It gives you the chance to craft your reply instead of shooting it off reactively, and respond on your schedule, not someone else’s,” he says.

2. Being obsessed with your phone can drive you crazy

Checking your phone fills you with that “frenetic, compulsive feeling that you might be missing out,” McKeown says. Writing in your notebook, on the other hand, has a calming influence.

3. A notebook can help keep you in the present moment

Checking your phone “tricks you with the trivial; it fools you into thinking that news and updates from the virtual world are more important than what’s right in from of you in the actual world right now,” he explains. Meanwhile, writing in your notebook reminds you of what’s important right now.

4. Your phone can be a time-wasting distraction

Checking your phone fills your spare moments with noise, while writing in your notebook provides you time to think and reflect.

“Of course, the benefits of writing in a notebook or journal go beyond the realm of productivity,” McKeown says. “If we want to leave a legacy to those who come after us, one powerful way to do it is to write a journal.” 

If journaling sounds too daunting a task for you, he suggest the following simple way to get started: Write one sentence every day. 

If you want to start this new habit, write less than you feel like writing. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? “Typically, when people start to keep a journal they write pages the first day. Then by the second day the prospect of writing so much is daunting, and they procrastinate or abandon the exercise.” So instead, even if you feel like writing pages and pages, force yourself to write just one sentence per day. 

Read the full LinkedIn post here.

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