It happens almost too often—I’m in the middle of telling a story when the person I’m talking to looks down and starts texting. I instantly lose my train of thought, or my voice trails off with a sad, defeated, “Eh, never mind.”
Usually, at least with my close friends or colleagues, they immediately look up and apologize, or ask me to continue what I was saying before they got “distracted.” But regardless, the moment’s gone, and I’m always left wondering if they’re ever really listening to me.
The thing is, I do it, too! I definitely have times when a co-worker pings me or something urgent comes up, and I leave someone else hanging on their thought while I go to check my messages. We can’t help it—always having our phones in eyesight, resting it next to us on the dinner table, holding it in our hand while we’re chatting, ensures we’re always going to be at its beck and call.
So, when UNILAD released a video featuring DistractaGone, a cool new device that tackles this exact dilemma, I was intrigued (and wanted to buy it for everyone in my life).
It’s basically a safe for your phone—all you have to do is place it in the small container and set a timer. Then, it locks itself up for whatever timeframe you prefer (seriously, you can’t pry this thing open). What’s even cooler about it is that it holds up to four devices, which means you can have all your co-workers put theirs in at once and have a distraction-free meeting.
That’s upping the odds that you’ll never leave a conference room wondering what you got accomplished ever again. At the moment, it’s still in the Kickstarter stage, so it’s not a reality yet, but the company has 22 days to go to meet its goal and (hopefully) change the way we communicate.
If you’re looking for help with this problem right now or don’t like the idea of buying a safe, we got your back. One popular option these days is to ask everyone to put all their phones in the center of the table during meals, and then stating that whoever checks theirs first has to pay the bill (trust me, it works). Or, leave it at home when running out to do a mid-day errand, or at your desk when going to lunch with a co-worker. If you don’t have that much self control, you can even download an app that locks you out for a set period of time (for Android, try Lock Me Out and for iOS, try Offtime).
No matter how you do it, stop checking your phone constantly when you’re not waiting on urgent news and give people your full attention. It really makes all the difference in having real, meaningful conversations, meetings, and relationships.
Plus, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you? I know I would love to be able finish my (let’s be honest, hilarious) stories.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author