Smartphone use for more productivity and free time

Richard Staudner
Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

Imagine that a power greater than ourselves would come and give you three hours more free time every day!? 

Would you accept it?

I do. Wow that would be really great! 

The funny thing is, that actually works. Even relatively simple! 

Check the usage of your apps on your phone. Where do you spend most of your time?

Every smartphone has an overview for this. Mostly called screen time. 

Is Instagram, e-mail or Whatsapp? 

And how much time do you spend in which app per day? 

3 hours on Instagram even though you're not an influencer professionally? 

Here are your three hours. You can give them to yourself now. Or reduce each app by only 30 minutes, which brings you hours in total. 

Now there are those who say "what do I do with so much time?" But that's another topic that we can look at another time 🙂 

I'll tell you how I do it with my smartphone: 

  • I don't have an email app on my phone! I check emails only once a day on my laptop.
  • I don't have any social media apps on my smartphone (only FB messenger, people hardly use that anyway).
  • My assistant posts the few posts I make for me. Or you can download the app ONLYPULT, like Tim Ferries. There you can easily post and analyze without being disturbed by other posts and stories. 
  • I also have Zero Sounds enabled on my smartphone. It is always on silent mode. And it only vibrates when my girlfriend texts me or when a call comes in. So I stay reachable, but I'm not disturbed by constant messages. I get way too many messages a day for my job. Nothing flashes or lights up for me either. I only see my newly received messages when I unlock the device. 

Does it really bother you that much, you ask? 

I think there is nothing worse than smartphone notifications on the lock screen or on the smartwatch. The smartphone can't prioritize. Everything comes in at the same time - from a "like" that you received to an important message from a business partner. 

What's the point of Instagram notifications anyway? Unless your bread and butter job is influencer. 

When I sit in meetings or with friends at a table, displays light up and phones vibrate every second. And the reason is really useless in 98 % of cases. 

But the conversation and the flow I want are permanently disrupted. You lose valuable time and are simply unproductive. 

Further, I see it as rude unless your messages are more important to you than the conversation.  

Smartphone productivity killer 

You don't think it's that bad? 

Let's go to an individual context: 

If you're studying or writing on something and your smartphone distracts you with a notification, it takes you 10-15 minutes to get back to the same depth in your work as before. That's what studies clearly say. 

So if there's only one message every 10 minutes, what does that mean for your productivity? 

You can also tell your closest acquaintances, if it is important please call me. 

Set the vibration for calls only and turn it off for notifications and put the phone out of sight or in another room. So that you can just hear it vibrate when you receive a call. 

Just the presence of your cell phone at the table, when you see it and it doesn't even ring, completely distracts your attention. Be honest, how often do you reach for it "just to check something quickly"? And the focus is gone. 

If you pay attention to such small things, how far do you think your productivity will rise?

Personal balance

You are self-employed or professionally available for many? You get private and professional messages on the same phone number? 

Does that annoy you? 

I therefore have a private and a professional smartphone. 

I turn off the business phone at 6 pm! Why? Work everywhere is ok but work anytime is not ok.

I have zero business communication on my private cell phone. So only private conversations. That way, the evenings and weekends are reserved for me and my family. 

Evening and morning 

Around 10 pm, I also turn off the private completely and go to bed. 

And although I'm an early riser, I don't turn on my cell phone until 8 o'clock at the earliest when I get home. If nothing important is pending, I also leave it in another room until at least 10 or 11 a.m. and use the time for productive work and focus on my planned work. Studies say that the time in the morning and in the forenoon is the best for concentrated work. 

After that I open the e-mail program on the desktop. Why? As little communication garbage as possible in my most productive time. My brain will thank me 🙂 

Still sleep peacefully?

What about emergencies then? 

At home I have a landline phone, yes that's right, this thing with a cord on it. 

And the number of the phone has only my son! So I am available in absolute emergencies even at night. Clearly, this phone has the color red 😉 

Let's go! 

So, I'll summarize again and you just pick out what you can easily implement at the start. 

I've prioritized it right away so that you can start with what I consider to be the easier things. I recommend that you take just one step further each week.  

- Turn off all notifications for social media. 

- Delete your e-mail app and only check your mail on the desktop.

- Turn off all notifications for all incoming messages. Except for calls. You then have to unlock the device to see new messages. The least you could do is to reduce your notifications to vibration. 

- Delete Instagram, Facebook and other social media apps and use ONLYPULT instead. Or don't use it at all. 

- Reduce smartphone time in the evening and switch your device to "do not disturb" mode and only be reachable for emergencies. Or set your phone to flight mode right away.  

As always, start with something simple and only when you're comfortable with it, move on to the next more difficult change. Don't delete all apps right away. That might be too hard at first, and then all the apps will probably return to your smartphone soon.  

Many of us think they then no longer receive important information. But how important and urgent was this information really. Most of the time we overestimate the urgency of our communication. 98 % of things can wait a few hours or are simply unimportant. 

Go easy and have fun in the woods or at the swimming pond with your won time 🙂 

Your Richard 


Richard Staudner

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