I am going straight to the point here — Do not put your smartphone on your work desk! I learned this lesson in my previous company where I charged my smartphone on a standing phone charger that was placed on my desk. Every time a new notification popped up on the lock screen, my mind immediately turned the attention to whatever that was popped up. It was impossible to focus on getting a single thing done.
Even though turning off all notifications and turning the device to silent mode might eliminate those kinds of distraction, having it physically there would give my mind a subconscious signal that someone might be looking for me.
Same apply to any devices that trigger attention, such as smartwatches and activity trackers (I refrain from wearing them when I need to get things done), or printers that someone else in the office might use anytime.
I understand that sometimes we might need smartphones to complete specific tasks, but I always think of alternatives that would not give unnecessary distractions. For example, if I need to attend a meeting in 30 mins on time, I use a simple digital watch to alarm me when it’s time to go, rather than using my smartphone or smartwatch to do it. Because whenever I turn on my smartphone, I would have the intention to check my Email and other social media.
This might sound weird to people who worked with me before, as I was known for having a ton of stuff around my work desk. Yes, I’ve changed and I mean it, keep the work desk settings as simple and clean as possible, regularly.
I learned that from multiple millionaires and leaders who I saw as my life mentors. One common trend that I realized they all shared is that they only have a few items on their work desks with lots of desk space. I mimicked that on my work desk and found out that I was so much more focused and motivated. The key here is having lots of desk space where I could draw and write things on.
It takes discipline to keep the work desk as clean and simple as possible, but it is certainly worth the effort and is a great habit to have.
I always ask myself: “How can I alter and create a work environment to work towards my productivity?”
My answer to that is putting things that I currently focus on in front of me. There are usually a few items (within 5 items) on my desk, I call them my focus-triggering symbols. For example, I put my water bottle near my desk to remind me to drink water regularly in order to maintain a fresh and healthy brain. I also put cash notes on my desk to remind me that my current focus is on generating new streams of cash flow.
All the items I put on my desk has a specific meaning to it. Whenever I saw them, it creates a positive force and energy for me to work on the goals I have set for myself.