Recently I talked with a client and his production manager about the stress and fatigue the production manager is experiencing. The production manager more or less responds to any text or call that he receives, no matter what time it is.

The result is that the production manager is almost always stressed and tired. This probably makes anything he tries to do not as well-done as he would like it be. With the resulting errors occurring and things being forgotten, the production work load gets bigger and bigger.

You might say that the production manager is addicted to the stimuli his phone provides. This is not unusual. A recent New York Times article gave the reason why: “… smartphones are a potent delivery mechanism for two fundamental human impulses, according to Paul Atchley, a psychology professor at the University of Kansas: our quest to find new and interesting distractions, and our desire to feel that we have checked off a task.”

The problems with our inclination to be controlled by these two impulses are we can never stay focused on the task at hand, and we can never disconnect and rest. What to do?

Set Limits with Your Clients
The only way your clients will get the good job they are paying for is if the clients don’t communicate with you and your employees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On work days between, say, 5 p.m. and 7 a.m., let the clients know you will have your phone on airplane mode or off. Do the same with your weekends. Decide not to be available and tell them you and your people need time to have a life and live it.

Have one cellphone that rotates each weekend between all the people in the company. That is the emergency number which is given to the clients, the number to call when a TRUE emergency has occurred outside of the boundary hours you have set up for regular communication.

Put the Phone Down
While you are awake, put the phone down for at least a couple of hours.  Live your life without it.

Some of you may remember when smartphones and cellphones did not exist. Humans dealt with it. Life went on, pretty much as we know it, albeit at a slightly slower pace. A slower pace can be very healthy for people.  Give it to yourself, at least for part of your day.

Lift up Your Head
The world is a great place. You can’t see much of it looking down at your screen.

Do you have children? If you are looking at a screen all the time, how will they learn to socialize with other others? It all starts at home. What is really important to you?  Is it being connected to your clients or being with your family?

Need Something to Hold?
Several months ago there was a Kickstarter site for the NoPhone. The NoPhone is a slab of plastic in the shape of a smartphone. Feel the need to have the security that carrying your phone gives you but don’t want to be connected? Try the NoPhone!  Addicted to selfies? For a slightly higher price get the one with a mirror on one side!

The production manager I mentioned above is a wonderful man. He truly cares about all those the company serves and those he works with.

His opportunity is to put his own needs above those of others. If he doesn’t, he will likely fall into bad health or worse.

Even with addiction one can make a different choice.  You have to decide it is worth it to do so.