Here’s How Phone Addiction Could Be Affecting Your Career and Your Life

The invention of the cell phone revolutionized life as we know it. In a matter of years, the magic of the smartphone, in particular, has brought the world together in ways that would have been impossible just a century earlier. For example, over 250,000 health and lifestyle apps were created in 2016, equipping users with a host of tools to help maintain their well-being. But just because your phone and its numerous apps have so many helpful uses doesn’t mean everything that a phone brings to the table is a net positive.

Cell phones have quite a few negative side effects that have become more and more apparent as the early years of the smartphone era have played out. One of the worst of these is the problem of phone addiction.

Every time your screens light up with a notification, you get an instant high. This means you’re literally creating (or for many, have already created) a chemical addiction to the experience of using your phone. While getting a dopamine high isn’t a negative on its own — it’s literally released every time you do anything you enjoy — it does come with the risk of training you constantly check your phone in a manner that can quickly become unhealthy.

This problem has resulted in the development of the concept of digital wellness, or steps that can reduce the ill effects of addiction to technology. If you find that you simply can’t bring yourself to stop incessantly checking your phone, it’s always by your side, or you prioritize it over everything and everyone around you, it might be time to consider just what an addiction of this nature can do to you over the course of time.

Professional Concerns

While a genuine addiction to your smartphone can hurt your life in practically every area, here are a few of the most detrimental ways that overly-prioritizing your phone can negatively impact your work and career.


A whopping 55 percent of employers consider smartphone addiction to be the biggest killer of workplace productivity. Indeed, the closer an employee’s phone is to them while they work, the harder it is for them to concentrate. The mere knowledge that our phones are nearby can cause an incessant distraction and a gnawing temptation to check for those addicting notifications.

Attention Spans

When we use our smartphones frequently, it increases the likelihood that we’ll also use them absentmindedly or in order to pass time. In addition, regular use tends to lead toward increased mind-wandering and a struggle to maintain a proper attention span. Needless to say, the inability to focus can take a huge toll in the workplace.

Car Accidents

One element that is common for the majority of employees is the dreaded commute. Smartphone-caused distracted driving is rampant at this point, and it can include things like:

  • Sending and reading text messages
  • Reading directions from a cell GPS
  • Making calls
  • Checking notifications
  • Talking on your phone

The introduction of the smartphone into our professional lives has made us continually available. This often includes when we’re driving, which turns every smartphone owner willing to check their phone as they drive into a road hazard.

Personal Concerns

Of course, the harm of phone addiction extends beyond your career. Even if you can manage to separate the business side of your phone use when you’re not at work, the effects continue to stretch into our lives outside of the office as well. Here are some of the worst ways that the inability to put your phone down can take a toll on your personal life:

Social Media Versus Social Time

It’s disconcerting to know that phone addiction and social media addiction are both serious issues … and are both intimately intertwined. After all, the former enables the latter. If your phone is in your pocket, it allows you to check for those all-important social media notifications in order to get a quick hit of dopamine, even if that means you’re straight-up ignoring a family member who is standing right in front of you.

Mental Health

In a study released in 2016, it was discovered that problematic smartphone use was connected to things like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • The need for touch
  • The fear of missing out (FOMO)

In other words, smartphones were often intimately tied in with some of the deepest mental struggles that plague the modern world. Of course, the irony of it all is the inability of a smartphone to genuinely provide a solution to any of those problems.


One subtle way that our smartphones affect our personal lives can be in the form of an actual financial burden. The inability to separate yourself from your phone makes it a “necessity,” even when those soaring phone bills get out of hand.

If someone loses their job, it’s typical procedure to cut the cable, stop eating out, and trim the budget in general. And yet, an addiction to your smartphone can make it one of the last things to go before big-ticket items, like the mortgage or your car, allowing that phone bill to continue digging a deeper financial pit that will take time and effort to get out of.

Trying to Keep Your Phone in Its Place

The struggle here boils down to finding a balance. There are obviously numerous benefits to having a smartphone. The struggle comes with diagnosing when it’s becoming more of a detriment than a benefit. Once that’s done, it’s time to start working on addressing the problem by putting that phone down when you’re not using it, checking it less, turning off those notifications, and leaving it behind whenever possible.

This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner

Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader.  And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.