You think your phone will relieve your boredom, but science shows it's more likely to increase it.

Jessica Stillman, Contributor, Inc.com

When you're bored in the middle of some mind-numbing task (or, in the current situation, a few weeks of quarantine), what do you do? If you're like many modern business owners, the answer is a no brainer: you reach for your phone. Five minutes of Facebook or kitten pictures can seem like the perfect break to relieve your brain.

If that sounds familiar, a new as yet unpublished study has bad news for you. Reaching for your phone is likely to leave you feeling even more bored.

The little boredom machine in your pocket

The problem isn't the general idea of taking a break. Previous studies show that we get more done overall if we take regular, short breaks to rest and recharge. The problem is with your phone. New Dutch research shows most of us carry around a little boredom-boosting machine in our pockets all day long.

To figure out the relationship between phones and boredom the research team installed an app on the phones of 83 volunteers to track how often they used their devices. They also asked these volunteers to keep detailed diaries at work for three days, recording their level of fatigue and boredom every hour.

When they looked at the data, the researchers first discovery was no shocker. We're on our phones a lot. "Phone breaks were extremely frequent: in the 20 minutes following each questionnaire, participants picked up their phone 52 percent of the time, spending an average of around 90 seconds on it each time," reports a writeup of the findings on the British psychological Society Research Digest blog.

Equally unsurprising was the second finding: the more tired we are, the more likely we are to reach for our phones. The real kicker was the final finding. While we look to our phones to relieve our fatigue and boredom, screen time actually seemed to modestly increase feelings of boredom.

"Participants actually reported higher levels of boredom after having used their smartphones," notes BPS.

How to take a better break

The research team speculated two different reasons why this might be so. Switching from work to your phone and back again may end up being more mentally tiring than it is stimulating. In other words, that baby goat video was nice, but not worth the cost to your brain in effort and concentration. Alternately, picking up your phone might just serve as a reminder of all the fun and interesting things out there you could be doing if you didn't have to fill out paperwork or proofread that report.

This one small study can't definitively say if either of these explanations is right, but the basic takeaway is pretty clear. You think a quick glance at your phone is going to make you feel less bored, but chances are it's actually going to make your brain feel even more fried.

What should you do instead? Here are a few suggestions for your next break:

As a business owner, you are always looking for new ways to improve the performance of your business and staff. One of the ways to do this is to outsource your Information Technology needs to a Managed Service Provider. If you’re not sure what an MSP is or how it can help take your company to the next level, we’ll give you a quick overview of what they can do for you, coming up next.

A Managed Service Provider is a company that specializes in managing your business technology needs. Rather than wait for your networks and computers to have problems an MSP monitors and maintains your technology to improve company performance. Here are the three biggest benefits MSPs offer to the companies that use them:

Number 1 - Manage and Maintain Networks – Keeping your network running smoothly can be a daunting challenge even under the best of circumstances, let alone when you’ve got to roll out a new piece of software or change to the network structure. An MSP can coordinate and handle the details for you, allowing you to focus on the more important aspects of your company.

Number 2 - Improves Productivity and Efficiencies – By outsourcing the IT functions required to keep your company running smoothly, it frees up your staff to focus on more important, strategic issues, ultimately allowing every employee on your payroll to be more productive, effective and efficient.

Number 3 - Provides A Predictable IT Budget – Most small to medium-sized businesses struggle to effectively manage their infrastructure because of the high and unpredictable cost of hiring a dedicated IT team internally. Not only does an MSP avoid this issue by offering a cost-effective solution, but a contract with an MSP gives you an entirely predictable budget. Even better, you can scale the level of service you get from the company seamlessly as your business grows and expands.

The right MSP can help take your business to the next level, giving you a powerful strategic advantage over your competition. If you’ve been looking for a simple way to enhance the productivity of your firm and improve your bottom line, this could be the solution you’ve been looking for. If you’d like to know more about Managed Services, give our team a call.

When we first buy them, computers make life and business easier. The problem is sooner or later they start showing their age and we start to question why we got them in the first place. We’ll outline three unmistakable signs your equipment needs an upgrade, coming up next …

No matter how much you spend on your computer equipment, it’s not going to last you forever. The day’s coming, and probably much sooner than you’d like, when you’re going to have to start thinking in terms of upgrading. Here are three sure signs that it’s time:

#1 Apps Load Slowly – Since you use your system every day, you have a good feel for how long it should take for apps you use on a regular basis to load. Over time, the software you use changes. It may be a simple update to your favorite accounting software or maybe a switch to a different CRM, but one day you will notice programs load slower. As your computer ages software developers start writing their programs to take advantage of more modern components making a program that used to be snappy become so slow you can get a cup of coffee from Starbucks and drive back home before the software loads. This is a good sign it is time to upgrade.

#2 Your Operating System Becomes Outdated – Microsoft and Apple are constantly looking for ways to innovate, because of this a lot can change between operating system releases that cause compatibility issues with new versions of your favorite software. Not only do older Operating Systems have the problem of not being compatible with the latest versions of popular software, the Operating System developers reach a point where they stop providing critical security updates and patches. At that point, there’s no sense in fighting it, it’s time to modernize.

#3 A Growing Number of Crashes – No matter what OS you use, system crashes are inevitable, but any time you try to marry an older OS with modern software, incompatibilities are bound to begin creeping into the equation. As that happens, you’ll start seeing an increasing number of in-explainable crashes. When you do, it’s a sure sign your system has seen better days.

Don’t wait until your system’s problems are so bad that it’s virtually unusable. Slow systems cause frustration and a loss in productivity costing your business both time and money. If you want to get your IT systems back up to speed, call our team. We’d be glad to help

It’s no secret that technology can streamline the way your company operates and save you a ton of money. That’s a big win for you and for the customers you serve. We’ll show you three new technologies that can help your business grow. Coming up next…

The right technology can give your business a powerful strategic advantage over your competition, enhancing your bottom line as it makes your company more efficient and productive. Here are three technologies that can do amazing things for your company.

Let’s take a closer look:

#1 - VoIP

We know it's not entirely new but VoIP can bring big benefits. Business phone lines are expensive, and switching to a VoIP system could save you a lot of money, adding to your bottom line.

In the early days of VoIP, the call quality wasn’t great, but as Internet speeds have increased, those issues are a distant memory. Newer VoIP systems with Unified Communications make all your text messages, CRM, and phone systems work together, making the move to VoIP a real winner.

#2 - 5G Networks

In the business world, the faster your connections are, the more you’ll be able to get done.
Business owners were quick to make the switch to 4G networks due to the speed increases 4G promised. 5G offers even more impressive speed increases.

While 4G networks have an average speed of 20 megabits per second. 5G networks tout speeds up to 20 gigabits per second.

If your company employs smart technology or networks of any kind, the new 5G networks can be a huge improvement for your business.

#3 - Augmented Reality

If there’s one technology that truly stands to transform the way business gets done, it’s Augmented Reality. While Virtual Reality is an entirely computer-generated world, AR combines computer generated information and items with the physical world where customers and employees can interact with them.

A good example of Augmented Reality is a car windshield that overlays GPS data over the road in front of you.

Used as a marketing tool, you can create unique, highly personalized shopping experiences for your customers. Used in the back office, your team can reduce prototyping time and cost by working with virtual representations of products, or as a training tool to facilitate guided remote repairs.

Simply put, these new technologies can make your business more efficient and profitable. If you would like to find ways to use technologies like these to take your business to the next level, give our team a call.

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