Your phone habits can make or break your success as an entrepreneur

This blog post is about an uncomfortable truth. It’s about how your phone habits can be the make or break your success as an entrepreneur.

Sounds way overblown? Nope! These mighty and tiny computers are with us all day every day, wherever we go. And with it come the notifications that can interrupt everything and anything you do.

Your phones have a serious impact on your ability to pay attention. Notifications can interrupt your mental flow. They can jolt you out of your zone when you’re doing the things you’re so good at. More so, the apps on your phone and their siren song of distraction can keep you away from the things you need to be doing. 

Your success in business hinges on your ability to make good decisions, solve challenges, and have the mental space to be creative. When you’re interrupted and distracted by your phone, you can’t do these things as well as you want to.

In short: if you let your phone run your life, you risk staying below your potential as an entrepreneur.

It’s About Attention!

At this point, you probably know that our relationship with socials and our phones as humans is complex. You could say our relationship status is complicated, like in the good old days of 00’s Facebook. Our phones are powerful tools and they’re a Pandora’s box of distractions.

When you run your business on your phone and use tools like social media, you’re dealing with the challenges of these technologies every day. Open Instagram to check your DMs for work and get sucked into the feed for 30 minutes. Reach for your phone to make a business call and get distracted by all the notifications from WhatsApp and texting. Try to look up something online for work and get lured into the abyss of news on the internet.

Whoops! Only that you don’t have the time for such a whoops as a boss. 

Have you ever beaten yourself up about logging onto socials for work and scrolling longer than you wanted to? Well…It’s not your fault 100%. Let that be your first main takeaway from this.

It’s not that you don’t have willpower or are a lax human being. Our devices and the apps on them are designed to harvest our attention. The ad-based business models of tech companies like Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) or Google need your eyeballs on content to make money. And the more eyeballs they can get on things, the more money they make. The more time you spend on their content, the better for their bottom line.

This is what it means to live in the so called attention economy. Ours is a world full of content and options. There’s more content than you could ever consume in a lifetime, so your attention becomes the bottleneck everyone is vying for. Attention here means the possibility to turn eyeballs on something into money.

It’s a challenging world we live in, where the tools we’re using are designed against our better intentions. Socials are sucking you in, notifications disturb your mental flow, the news you read in the morning stress you out before the day has even started. All that to harvest your attention, which you need for other things – like your business. 

It’s time to do something about it and you’re going to learn how now.

3 Ways To Set Boundaries Around Your Phone to 10x Your Efficiency as an Entrepreneur

If your phone and the apps on them are messing with your attention and well-being, it’s time to set boundaries. Below, I’m sharing 3 easy tips you can start using in your life today to 10x your badassery as an entrepreneur.

1. Turn off notifications

If you haven’t turned off your notifications, this is the most important step to protect your focus. Only keep those you really, really need. Everything else – let it go. 

For example: You don’t need those notifications that tell you you have new followers on Instagram. You’ll see the new followers when you choose to open the app the next time.

This is the most important and easiest thing you can do to get your power and focus back from your phone. 

It’s like teaching your phone sit, down, and no. When you turn off your notifications, you decide when you’ll check your phone, not the other way around. 

When you do this, you make it easier to leave the impulse behind you to open your phone every time a notification pops up on your screen. Before it’s like somebody’s tapping you on the shoulder tens of times in a day. Now you’re telling them to leave you alone – for good. Your focus and sanity will thank you for it.

2. Stop looking at your phone first thing in the morning

How you set up your morning is how you set up your day. You can have the best “that girl” influencer morning routine with green juices in an Instagram-worthy, sun-filled kitchen.

All that is naught, if the first thing you do in the am is check your phone and scroll, scroll, scroll. I like to call it the “scrollover”. When you wake up in the morning, roll over, and take your phone into your hand to scroll right away – all in one swift movement.

In the morning your brain is super duper refreshed from sleep. Your mind is malleable. Maybe you’re still digesting what you dreamt about. Or you had a cool idea waking up. 

When you scroll right away, it’s like a bulldozer with a shovel full of information is breaking through your bedroom wall to remind you of the world. It’s like a slap of stress to jolt you awake. When you scroll and look at content, that has an effect on our nervous system. Think of your lovely body! There it’s waking up, at peace after a nice sleep, and then, boom, here you are shocking it awake with a deluge of stress.

If you scrollover, you start your day in a state of stress before you’ve even done anything. Imagine if something actually stressful happens afterwards on that day. Stress on top of stress is a disaster if you need to find good solutions or stay calm in choppy waters. 

Here’s a better way to do it: Set a boundary around your phone in the mornings. It can be time- or task-based. 

  • For time-based it could be something like you’ll check your phone 30 or 60 minutes after you got up, not earlier. 
  • Task-based could be that you only check your phone after you’ve gone for a walk with the dog, a run, took a shower, and gave a kiss to the person you love. It’s about the things you do before you check your phone, not about the minutes you need to pass before you do that.

If this is tricky to do with your phone in the room, consider getting an old school alarm clock. Use it to wake you up in the morning and let your phone sleep somewhere else in the house. That way, you’re stopping the scrollover before it can even happen.

Protect your mornings. The world can wait.

3. Set boundaries around your app use. If you need to, use a blocking tool

Do you have time sink apps? Are there any socials or games that you spend more time on than you’d ever admit?

Then it might be time for a boundary. Set a boundary around how much time you can use those apps for every day. You don’t need to go cold turkey, especially if you need an app for work, like Instagram. It’s important that you start and prune. 

Setting the boundary alone might not be enough. If you need help with keeping your paws off your phone below are tools that will make this easier. The great thing about these tools is that they’ll override your impulse to check the app. You might open Instagram but the digital well-being or blocker apps will tell you: “Nope! Not happening right now!”. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to break out of the habit.

Android and iPhones come with digital wellbeing apps that help you set time limits for certain apps. You can also use the apps below to set bedtime and morning limits to keep you from scrolling too late into the night or too early in the morning.

The apps are Digital Wellbeing for Android and Screentime for iPhone.

If that’s not enough and you’re going around the limits you’re setting on these apps, there’s one more option. It’s more than putting a lid on the cookie jar and putting it to the top of the kitchen shelf. It’s like asking somebody to hide it from you. This option means setting hard blocks.

You can set hard blocks in your browser with freedom and block access to apps all together with Opal or the AppBlock app.

Manage your Phone, 10x Your Impact as an Entrepreneur

Your phone is a powerful tool and a distraction machine. As a founder you need focus, attention, and mental space to make good decisions, create impactful products, and be on top of things in your business. You can give yourself and your mind a breather and set yourself up for success when you manage your phone well. Set smart boundaries to create that in-the-zone headspace and protect it. Your effectiveness as an entrepreneur and your inner zen will bloom!

Here are three things you can do to change your relationship with your phone right now: 

  1. Turn off any notifications you don’t need
  2. Have phone-free mornings
  3. Set time limits or block the apps that you’re most distracted by.



Johanna is a serial entrepreneur and advisor to innovators, entrepreneurs, and creatives. She currently runs Bye, Social Media! and Log Off Live More. Both of these companies are informed by her PhD research on the cultural and social effects of social media. Johanna has always been entrepreneurial. Her first gig was when she packaged pebbles in her grandma’s yard and sold them to the guests at her BnB. Grandma called it naughty, Johanna prefers to think of it as alchemy ;-). Johanna’s current mission is to help people use technology in ways that are healthy, supportive, and expand our potential as humans. Johanna is a certified systemic coach through the University of Cologne and holds an MA and BA from the University of Munich and an MBA from the disruptive Quantic School of Business and Technology. She is currently enrolled in a part-time doctoral program at the University of Munich. Johanna loves to travel, sing opera, hike in the German alps, and pet all the dogs she meets in her everyday life.