This is a summary of the article on the HBR blog: “If You Want to Use Your Phone Less, First Figure Out Why” by Marcello Russo, Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Gabriele Morandin

4 Common Reasons People want to Use their Phone less

Many of us would like to spend less time attached to our phones. But to make a real change, you need to understand why you want to use your phone less. You’ll have a better chance of succeeding if you identify exactly what is motivating you.

Here are 4 common reasons people want to unplug and the most effective tip for each:

  1. Improving Work or Home Role Performance – keeping their phones out of sight provided them with the greatest results
  2. Establishing a Personal Digital Philosophy – Setting rules had a tremendous impact for this group. The rules people came up with ranged from no smartphone “outside of business hours” to “no phones at the dinner table.” As one commentator said, “My cellphone is a helpful business tool — I control it, it does not control me.”
  3. Minimizing Undesirable Social Behaviors – disabling push notifications to avoid interruptions during business or social interactions was described as very effective.
  4. Putting Family and Interpersonal Relationships First – Tracking their personal connectivity behaviors was considered an effective way to gain greater self-awareness, which was then used as motivation to change unwanted behaviors. Similarly, reminding themselves of their life priorities was particularly helpful to commentators with a salient family identity. 

This week I have been teaching at the Mid Atlantic Business School on the island of Santa Cruz de la Palma. This video shares a lesson that many participants took from the day: “Listen with Your Eyes“.

Hearing is a sense that differs from all our other senses, because it has a buffer. I am able to re-listen to the last 8 seconds of what I have recently heard. This allows me to pay little attention to what is being said, until I hear my name or a silence that indicates that someone is waiting for me to respond. We need to practice listening to a deeper level – what I call “listening with your eyes”.

If you liked this post, you will also like listening is seeking to be changed by another person and How to ask the best Questions.

Here’s a quick analysis (not scientific nor complete) of poor ways of listening. I am guilty of #1 and #2, I can enjoy #3… but I really hate #4. (#2 is my Achilles Heel).

The 4 Categories of Poor Listening

  1. Knows it Already
  2. One Upper
  3. Gossiper
  4. Black Hole

Knows it Already

As you get half-way through your sentence, the Knows it Already already knows what they think you are going to say. They are now preparing their response rather than listening to the rest of your words.

One Upper

Whatever you have done, they have done it… but twice as well, or twice as big or twice as impressive. You share that you went on safari last year and saw 2 elephants. They went on safari 2 years ago and saw 4 elephants, 10 lions and millions of other animals.

  • I give thanks to Florian Mueck for helping me recognise and reduce my tendency towards “One Upping”

Gossiper

Whatever you share, they will share something negative or comparative about other people who are not in the room.

Black Hole

Life is shit.

Listening is a state of seeking to be changed by the other person.

Listening is less about the ears, than about a state of openness to change.

Hearing is different from all other senses in that it has a buffer, a short term memory of the last 8 seconds that we have heard. This allows us to pay little attention until we hear a word, our name or a silence and this triggers us to scan the last few seconds of audio intently. Most of the time we learn to listen with little attention.

This is a dangerous mode of listening to those whose relationships are important to us. We must learn another way of listening to people who we value and are important to us. We must “listen with our eyes”.

When someone approaches me with the challenge: “I have a really difficult time communicating with my second son”.  My question: “how have you let him change you?”  This is what makes a relationship – a sense that both have the capacity to affect change in the other.  Where I don’t let you affect my views, you will not let me affect your views.  This does not mean that we let go of rationality.  This means we are open to the different priorities that another person uses to view the world.

If you liked this post, you might also like How do I become a better listener? and How to build trust, improve relationships and enhance the quality of our lives?

Happy People share one characteristic in common.

There are many different approaches to happiness, and many varied approaches… but there is one vital ingredient.

It is very hard to find someone who is happy who doesn’t have strong, quality friendships and a satisfying romantic relationship.

(Even imaginary friends help. Children with imaginary friends are more happy than children without friends.)

The fundamental source of an individual’s unhappiness can almost always be found in an inability to establish good friendships.

Making Better Friends

How can you improve the quality of your relationships?

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“One of the single best predictors of your happiness is the happiness of your romantic partner” Dr. Mark Holder

According to Dr Mark Holder, there are 3 words that can improve the quality of your relationships.

When you talk with a friend, the use of these 3 words builds deeper bonds.

When you speak with a loved one, these 3 words build stronger connection.

Here are those 3 words…

“Tell me more…”

When your friend tells you about his new mobile phone and you are about to tell him about your new mobile phone…  instead “tell me more…”

When your friend tells you about the great safari holiday that she has just returned from and you are about to say “I did a safari back in 2001″…  instead “tell me more…”

My friend Florian Mueck hates what he calls “The 1-Uppers”.  I tell a story of running a 10k…  the 1-upper says “I ran a marathon”.  I tell a story of hiking for 4 days… the 1-upper says “I hiked for 6 days”  I tell a story of having a blog post read by 1000 people… the 1-upper says “I had a blog post read by 10,000 people”.

Don’t be a 1-upper.

“Tell me more…”

You can thank me later.

* Check out Dr Mark Holder’s TEDx talk.