A recent study has found that the mere presence of a smartphone, even when switched off, is causing a decrease in cognitive capacity. This means that the brains ability to hold and process data is affected.
Since mobile phones were introduced, I think it’s fair to say that most of us have had one attached to us ever since. As they have developed over the years, the mobile phone has become the smartphone and they have become more than just a device used to just make and receive calls. They are now taking photos, playing music and carrying out tasks such as, shopping, banking or even measuring fitness levels.
It is no surprise that people have become reliant on their smartphones, and with the increasing number of tasks being completed with said phone each year, their uses now range from personal activities to work tasks. But despite the success and benefits of certain apps, could the mere presence of our phones be killing our productivity and actually end up distracting us during work?
Researchers from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas carried out a study of two experiments in order to test cognitive capacity. The research involved getting participants to put their phones in silent mode/switch them off and place them either face down on their desk, in their pocket or bag or in another room and then ask them to complete a number of tasks and answer various questions. From this study, it was identified that having a smartphone within reach, even if it’s switched off or placed face-down, causes “brain drain” and is a lot more distracting than when the phone is out of a persons conscious mind.
So what can we do with this knowledge? It’s difficult to part with our favourite device during the day, especially if we need to use it specifically to carry out certain tasks or make calls, but if we can’t completely remove it from temptation, scheduling periods where we put our phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode could reduce distractions.