How Much Time Are You Wasting on Your Phone at Work?

Let’s face it. How many of us can openly admit that when we grab our phones in the morning to check our work emails, we find ourselves mindlessly checking our Facebook notifications instead? And raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself in sheer panic mode because your phone is nowhere to be found? Whether you want to admit it or not, we are all addicted to our phones and it’s had a resounding affect on our productivity in the workplace.

Even if you consider yourself to be a nurse practitioner workhorse, few providers can truthfully say that they work every minute of their workday. Whether it’s the 10 minute lag in between patients that you spend flipping through your Insta feed or ordering something online via the Amazon app, the occasional mental break on your phone is inevitable.


Countless studies have found alarming results on how just how much time we waste on our personal devices throughout the work day. One survey by OfficeTeam found that professionals fessed up to spending an average of 56 minutes per day using their mobile device for non-work activities. Participants also admitted to spending an additional 42 minutes per day on personal tasks; concluding that the average employee likely spends a little more than 8 hours per week altogether on tasks unrelated to their job duties.

This same study also canvassed specific age groups and found that millennial employees, ages 18 – 34, spent the highest amount of time on their mobile devices at 70 minutes per day. But don’t get on your soap box about millennials just yet, as not too far behind were employees, ages 35 – 54, who spent 54 minutes per day using their personal mobile devices.

In another survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder in 2016, 3 out of 4 employers said that two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because their employees are distracted; with more than 55% of employers blaming cell phones and texting as the culprit. And a more recent compilation of various studies done in May 2017 found alarming results that concluded that the average American adult spends 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day!

Fortunately though, the results of these surveys are not to say that the majority of NPs are wasting that much time on their phones while in their clinical settings. For example, a separate survey by canvassed 2,000 full-time employees in various industries across the US and revealed that workers in certain industries appear to be less likely to waste time at work on activities like personal phone use. To the benefit of NPs, the survey found that only 44.5% of those who worked in healthcare wasted less than one hour per work day on non-work related activities. In addition, only 8.5% of employees with a Master’s Degree (such as nurse practitioners) wasted over 3 or more hours per work day on non-work related activities. The reasoning behind the results? One possibility could be that NPs recognize that wasting time exacerbates the issues faced in healthcare, such as patients wanting more face time with providers as well as the rise in demand for qualified providers.

While as nurse practitioners we sometimes need to be connected to our devices for work, we’re also a click away from attractive distractions like social media and other apps on our phones. Although a little downtime now and then during the workday is understandable, especially when the day is stressful, it’s important that we be cognizant of our cell phone use so that it doesn’t take away from patient care. One way to stay mindful is installing an app that monitors your cell phone use or using a time tracker to monitor ourselves. You can’t justify complaints about taking charts home in the evenings if you’re spending a couple hours a day on personal tasks and distractions!

How much time do you think you waste on your phone at work?