Put Your Cell Phone Away – Increase Your Productivity

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Put your phone away.

Stop texting and calling your friends and family when you are supposed to be working.

Social media, Amazon, and the web are all great stuff and I love them, but do them at home.

I was recently inspired by Chick-Fil-A.  They ran a campaign, “put your phone in the basket while you eat and receive a free dessert.”  It really works, you talk so much more.  I was amazed, plus my wife and I enjoyed our dessert.

I was so inspired that I started putting a basket outside my office and the conference room with a message, “drop your phone in the basket before entering.”

One question is, does it annoy you when people’s phones ring while you are in a meeting, having a conversation, or while you are working?

Does it bug you that people are doing stuff on their phones while you are talking to them?  That they totally seem to be ignoring you and paying more attention to the caller.

Since when is it OK to search the internet while you are getting paid to work?


I am a technical person who was programming computers and waiting for this technology all my life.

Second, I love my phone and use it to run my business and my life.

I would feel lost without it.

But we need to draw a line between work and personal.

I put my phone on silent when I go to work.

I never answer my phone or look at it. When I am talking to you, you have my full attention.

I may make a personal call or send a text during lunch or while on a break.

Same with surfing the net for non-business purposes.

Why is it so hard for so many to follow this process or make their people follow it?

They seem to be bleeding all over the office, will you please stop.

You need to be leading, not bleeding.

Yes, people do work on their phones.

I use mine all day long, and as I said, I would be lost without it.  But this is business.

When I am in a meeting or conference, many times I use my phone to take notes.

But stop using that as an excuse if that is not what you are doing.

And stop being so easily deterred from business by a personal call.

Covert Leadership means doing what we need to do to make things happen in our business.

It means to stop letting anything get in your way of running the business the right way.

The first question I always get is, “OK Manny, I hear you, but how do you implement this process in the real world? It is not that easy, we tried and were knocked back.”

Again, I refer to what we at Covert Leadership Training are all about. We are out there in the real world doing it and making it happen.  This is real-world stuff.  This is not textbook stuff but something Bob and I have been doing for many years.  It has been tested in the real world and it works.

So let’s take a look at three ways you can implement a better process to help you deal with distractions and loss of time in the work environment.  

1/        You need to define how and what personal electronic devices are used in the workplace.

            A/        Task a team of people, representatives of your organization, with solving this problem.  No more than 5 people.

            B/        Give them the assignment of coming up with a process that meets your goals.

            C/        Once they have developed the process, then review, ask questions, make modifications, and implement the process.

2/        You need everyone to follow the process.

            A/        You are the CEO, but this is a workplace process that everyone should follow.

            B/        Any exceptions must be part of the process you defined in number 1 above.

            C/        It must come from the top of the organization.

3/        Your process has to increase productivity, not decrease it.

            A/        Don’t create a company of angry people.  But also, do not be afraid of losing some people.  Some people will just not accept the process.

            B/        Don’t create ridiculous rules that hold people back from doing their job.

            C/        Monitor and measure the process and see how it is performing.

Example of three simple rules to start with.

            1/        When you come into the conference room or someone’s office, put your phone in the basket outside or give it to someone that is not in the meeting.

            2/        No personal calling, texting, or surfing while you are working unless it is an emergency, or you are on lunch or a break.

            3/        Put your phones on silent.

Yes, many of us use our phones all the time to do our job.  As stated above, there is no problem with that, this write-up only concerns personal use.  Yes, I like to use my phone for notes in a meeting, but I got over it.

I know many of you think this article is a bit outside the world we live in today.  But how much productivity is being lost by not addressing this problem and how much is it costing you?  I too was on the other side of the fence for a long time, but after encountering major productivity problems, I now know that as a leader, you must get this under control.

If you want to discuss this further, please email me (manny@mannynowak.com) or call 856 364 5867.