#Detox: Putting the Smartphone Away

Smartphones provide lawyers with constant availability and the convenience of responding to queries and communications from any location at any time. But our devices can also be a source of distraction and addiction that discourage productivity and negatively impact our mental health.

A recent survey by Deloitte found that the average person checks their smartphone 52 times a day, while another study found the average person spends more than 3 hours on their phone daily. My own phone tells me that I receive an average of 78 notifications each day, causing a daily average of 73 “pickups”—each one interrupting workflow and concentration.

Making an active effort to reinforce self-control and limit our smartphone use can go a long way to ensuring we control our devices and our devices don’t control us. Dr. Gabrielle Golding, a lecturer with the University of Adelaide Law School, recommends lawyers pursue “digital detox” by scheduling predictable time away from smartphones and computers each week, slowly acclimatizing oneself to feeling “disconnected”, refraining from using any digital devices in bed, and taking up a non-technological hobby.

It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with applications such as iPhone’s Screen Time and Android’s Digital Wellbeing functions, which allow users to set limits on when and how they use their smartphone. Blocks of phone-free time can be set in advance, or limits can be placed on certain applications. These applications also provide daily summaries of just how much time a user spends on individual applications—the results of which may surprise you.

Shawn Erker (@ShawnErker) is Legal Writer & Content Manager at LAWPRO.

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