overcoming negative thoughts

Boosting Productivity: Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Mobile Phone Distractions

Do you know that our brains are constantly busy processing thoughts throughout the day? A paper published in Nature Communications by psychology experts at Queen's University in Canada state that we get more than 6,000 thoughts in a day.

This revelation isn’t at all shocking. I have had times when I could literally feel my head, heavy on my neck from processing so many thoughts. Sometimes I find myself jumping from one thought to another. 

Have you ever found yourself lost in a string of thoughts? Perhaps, you got locked in thinking one thing but then realize you have built up a flow of several other thoughts, from important ones to really ridiculous ones?

This is absolutely normal. Growing up, I had to be touched to get my attention from being lost in a sea of thought. Often during a boring class. And of course, this still happens during boring office meetings. 

However, where being full of thought is normal, there is that thin line we often cross where our thought begins to become a form of distraction, clogging our processes to being productive. 

overcoming negative thoughts

How Negative Thoughts Affect Our Productivity

Have you found yourself finding it hard to concentrate on a task because of a barrage of thoughts overcoming you? The truth is that, at one point or the other, we find ourselves unable to do what we need to do because our minds are busy.

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner in their amazing book Think Like A Freak teaches that we can greatly improve productivity through the power of the mind. Indeed, the level of our success and growth individually can be mapped to how we think.

In the same way, little or no productivity, poor performance, and even failure are linked to our thoughts. A mind is a tool and how we use it determines the result of our lives. So, the question is, how do we commonly think our way into not achieving great things?

The answer to this is summarised in two words: NEGATIVE THOUGHT! We all at one time or another have had our minds filled with negative thoughts. It is unfortunately a war we all must win and keep winning.

Negative thoughts come in several forms. You find yourself asking questions like:

What if my boss denied my promotion? 

What will I do if I lose my job? 

How will I pay my kid's tuition fees? 

How will I pay the next EMI? 

As a young man straight out of college, I remember being so filled with the fear that I would never get a job. What started out as a single thought gradually became a torment. 

I had all it took to get any job I wanted, but the fear of not getting a dream job was far greater than my qualifications. Of course, I was wrong. I did get a job, and I have had a very fruitful career so far, moving from one job to another.

The Confidence Gap: A Guide To Overcoming Fear And Self-Doubt by Russ Harris, covers greatly how fear is just an illusion. It isn't really real, and so we must do what we need to do, facing life and believing on self.

The Truth About Negative Thoughts

Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones- Thich Nhat Hanh

The truth is most of all your fear are not actually real. It is commonly said that fear is an illusion. It is worrying over things that most likely will not happen. And even if they do, they are not as bad are we imagine because inside all of us is a fighter, the spirit of survival.

So, all the negative thoughts that fill your mind preventing you from being productive at work, at your business, in your chores, or as you pursue your passion are as powerful as you allow them to be. They are not real. 

The truth is things are not as bad as you have chosen to interpret them.

The economy has not killed all the job

The stock market has not fell down. A lot more people are investing today than ever before. 

During Covid, I had to do a true assessment of the situation. Yes, I was surrounded by really scary negative realities, but I knew there was also an abundance of opportunities. I realized, there is always something good happening even in the face of negative thoughts.

What I did, according to Forbes is simply replace negative thoughts with positive ones. In so doing, I chose to challenge these negative thoughts, rejecting them to be the entirety of my reality. I chose to focus more on the positive things.

Eventually, you must come to realize that in whatever situation you find yourself none but we're responsible. We can decide what to do, and results of all those decisions are totally related to what we decide. Either you will try to revolutionize your life or you will accept and keep on wandering in your thoughts. 

How Mobile Phones Became A Part Of Us All

“The Smartphone has become a young divine embodying the ultimate desire and saving us from droopiness or lack of care and concern. It is the epitome of happiness, encompassing pleasure and contentment, but for sure does not allow woe and depression. ("Even if the world goes down, my mobile will save me" )”- ― Erik Pevernagie

In the bid to be more productive, we buy the latest phone device which is loaded with tons of apps that often promise to increase productivity. I say mobile devices because they are the favorite over laptops and PCS.

However, do our phones really help us to become creative? Smartphones come with features, and technology keep delivering more and more features to us.

The smartphone is loaded with GPS, the latest productivity app, YouTube, Facebook, and a listless number of other apps.

Amazon makes your purchases quick and easy you don't need to visit your marketplace places to find your things. You browse, you find tens of options, you choose, and pay, and your purchases are delivered to you right at home.

When you're hungry, you don't need to cook your food, you got a lot of options and your food will be delivered within a few minutes. Neither do you have to wait in queues to pay your bills, nor do you have to wait to book your train or bus tickets and not even a daily taxi ride. Everything is available in minutes. With the smartphone, things have become so much easy that I feel that I am living in a dream.

I was born in 1982 in a very small village in Uttar Pradesh India and I never thought that I would witness this level of technology in my lifetime.

I still remember the first time I touched a phone in the summer of 2001. I made my first call on a mobile phone that year (I did not make the call, the call was dialed by someone for me). It was a surreal experience. I did not know how to talk to someone on phone.
When the call went through, we both were talking at the same time and couldn’t hear ourselves. I was so nervous that I could hear my heart throbbing.

Today, mobile phones have become common and everybody can buy one.

Negative Effect Of Mobile Phone On Productivity

“Most people frequently waste their life, mostly in front of a screen.”― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

According to a study, people spend an average of three hours and fifteen minutes browsing their phones daily, while 20% of phone users use more than four and a half hours. 

Not shockingly, according to a study, people are more productive when they don't have smartphones with them. The figure is not 1 or 2% productive but 26% productivity increase when there is no smartphone with them. 

Personally, I also find myself more productive when I don't have a phone with me. My phone distracts me a lot. Concentrating on your phone around is an uphill task. Whether or not you have something to do, once you pick it up, you become hooked.

Smartphones (not desktops) are the major devices people use to browse the Internet. And according to a study, close to 54% of people use smartphones and tablets to browse the Internet. 

As much as mobile devices are helpful and have made life easier, they unfortunately have become why we have become lazy and unfocused.

The time and effort that these smartphones help us save are not utilized for other productive things.

According to Neuroscience research findings, smartphones usages make us stupider, less social, and highly distracted, affects our sleeping habits, and makes us depressed. 

Without a doubt, all of these seem to suggest that there are more harms than benefits to using a smartphone. 

So, Can Phones Really Help Us Become More Productive?

Some of the questions we have to ask ourselves when it comes to the use of mobile phones are:

Does it make sense to carry a smartphone every time? 

Can they really make us productive? 

What are the effective ways to use it at home? 

 how can we reap the benefits of smartphones? 

The book Untethered: Overcome Distraction, Build Healthy Digital Habits, and Use Tech to Create a Life You Love does not exonerate our own habits from the so-called disadvantages of using phones. Instead, it places the responsibility on us to learn how to use phones in the most profitable way.

Therefore the question of whether or not a phone is useful or harmful is dependent on how you choose to use it. The problem is not the phones, but more of whether are we using them for the purpose we bought them.

The truth is we have lived without them and we did not notice any need for them at the time. But if you're using it to increase your productivity then you need to adopt a behavior that aligns with your objective. 

For every app that takes most of your time, there is also an app that adds to you. An example is Kindle. If you want to be productive, you have to make a decision to download and use these useful apps more than you do those which waste your time.

On my own phone, I have Audible, Medium, Smarter time, and apps dedicated to helping me exercise. I have the Netflix app for recreation. However, I do not have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and others that I am certain will serve more as distractions. 

In the end, I have come to realize that it is not about the gadgets or the apps, but more of making the right decisions.


There are only 24 hours in a day. Time is limited but the work is unlimited. And we have to decide which is the thing that needs our most attention and we have to work on it. If we waste it on other resources then no device can help us out. They are only there to help out if we're willing to use them accordingly.

So what apps take your most of the time? Did you check it? Leave in the comments.