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How to Keep Your Workers Focused On Work (And Not Their Phones)

How to Keep Your Workers Focused On Work (And Not Their Phones)

Everyone believes that technology is this great productivity enhancer, and there is no doubt that we possess more information at our fingertips than ever before. But experts have talked about a “productivity paradox” for years as they note that the rise of new technologies has not enhanced worker productivity by much.

There are many possible reasons for why this paradox exists, but there is no doubt that part of it can be attributed to how workers can waste so much time on their computers and phones. This is not just goofing around on Facebook or playing games. Answering emails or texting can also distract workers from what they need to do.

An employer must ensure that his workers are productive and not wasting time on their phones all day, but that cannot be done by constantly watching over their shoulders. Here are a few tips to help your workers get enhanced by technology and not distracted.

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Handling “Project Fear”

One of the biggest challenges with phones is that they enable employees to feel productive even if they are not. Workers do want to feel that they accomplished something at the end of the day, but also dread the work they have to do when they stare at some big project you have assigned them. It is much easier to spend all day reading and responding to emails and texts to get that feeling of accomplishment.

While you may want to just hand your workers a project and let them work on it as they see fit, a more hands-on approach will help ensure that they do not get paralyzed and turn to their phones for help. There are numerous guides for how workers can take a big project and split it into smaller portions, and it may be best for you to take a proactive approach and split it yourself. Then you can hand your workers a smaller, more manageable portion which they can take care of in a reasonable timeframe before handing them the next portion.

Set and enforce a phone policy

Demanding that employees entirely refrain from using their phones while in the office is absurd and will lower morale. But if you set up a phone policy in advance and communicate it to your employees, it will show what is and is not acceptable.

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Sit down with management, human resources, and your IT department (nothing shows management to be out of touch faster than a phone policy which makes no technological sense). Determine what you are trying to do with your cell phone plan and what sorts of behaviors you are trying to stop. Entrepreneur has a good example of what a sample cell phone policy should look like.

Once a policy is in place, make sure that everyone knows about it. For example, have workers sign a form acknowledging that they received and have read the new policy. Do not be afraid to discipline employees who refuse to follow it, up to demanding that they relinquish cell phones if they continue to use it for personal reasons.

Allow for exceptions and breaks

If you set a cell phone policy, you have to do your best to ensure that the policy is enforced fairly. This includes management and you should make it clear that they are expected to follow the policies which they drafted.

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This is becoming easier with phone companies coming up with new technology that allows you to limit phone usage via software. But you should also understand that sometimes exceptions will need to be made. For example, employees with serious health issues should be permitted to use their phones to regularly speak with their doctor. You may also wish to grant privileges to employees with children so they can stay in regular contact.

In addition to these exceptions, make it clear when employees are allowed to use phones. If you give your employees regular, assigned break periods where they are allowed to use their phones, that will help them stop from taking an impromptu “five-minute break” to check Facebook on their phones that lasts 50 minutes.

Use your own cell phone less

As the one running a company, your own personal cell phone use can set an example of how others should treat their cell phones. If you are spending all of your time texting and on your phone, then your subordinates will conclude that such behavior is acceptable for themselves as well.

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Most people spend too much time fiddling with their cell phones anyways, and this sort of behavior is a serious distraction to your work regardless of how you are using it. Try to use your own phone as little as possible, and you will be stunned to realize just how much time you waste on it. And while you may not be able to convince all your workers that texting 24/7 is unnecessary, you will be able to set a positive example and encourage others to depend on superior face to face communication.

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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