Giving up email on my phone improved my life
The other day I was walking with a friend. He is an academic cardiologist. This translates into being busy writing grants, papers, having meetings, and running a successful clinical program. He also has 2 kids and 2 dogs at home. Needless to say he is a busy guy. When walking and talking, he told me he gave up email on his phone. It said it was the best thing he did. So I thought, why not try giving up email on my phone.
Why give up email on his phone
He gave up email to be more mindful during the day, but particularly when home with his kids. Finding himself constantly checking his phone, this distracted him from life. It was the best thing he had ever done. First, he found that most issues resolved themselves by the end of the day with or without his input. Second, he was more aware at home and less tethered to his phone. He recommended I try it and I did.
I gave up email on my phone on Saturday March 11th
On March 11th I gave up email on the phone. I also deleted all news applications, facebook, pinterest, and instagram. Like an addict withdrawing from my constant influx of news and constant new messages, I found myself constantly checking my now “less than smart” phone. I would day dream instead of reading the news. It is a strange feeling and one I did not expect. Still I muscled through it and by Tuesday my phone received less attention.
I determined I would only check email in the morning and at night (like my friend). In the morning I wake up and check email. At night, once my son is asleep, I check email again. I will have between 10 to 30 messages, but none are urgent. None required my attention immediately.
Benefits of giving up email
Now I am relaxed. I am more aware of my son and less focused on my phone. When I come home, I place the phone by the door and rarely pick it up.
My email is fine. Even email and comments from this site can wait. Nothing requires immediate attention. I check email and declutter it easily because I am not distracted by other things. My responses are more meaningful to my friends. I am just more calm.
Giving up new feeds also helps. Since I am not consuming constant information, my mind has time to rest and relax. I can listen to NPR on the way to and from work, receiving all the new I need
I recommend trying life without email or other distractions on the phone for 1 week. See how it feels. I promise you will not be disappointed.
10 thoughts on “Giving up email on my phone improved my life”
Congrats on the discipline. I think we have created a mentality that we are missing something if we don’t constantly check our phones. I went camping recently and didn’t have cell service for 18 hours. When we returned to cell range, I couldn’t wait for my emails to update and to have internet access. Kind of sad!
It is highly addictive and I still turn my phone on first thing when I land (even though I have less on it now). It is interesting though, since shutting off email and news apps, I really am less focused on my phone.
I’ve started to give up on my phone altogether! It’s easy to get addicted to it. I’ve deleted all the facebook, twitter, and email apps. In addition, I try to leave my phone at home when I’m going out to a place that I’m familiar with (e.g. the grocery store, the gym). It’s nice to unplug.
No that is impressive. I have yet to be able to unplug that fully. Nicely done Troy!
Brilliant idea. Smartphones are so addictive…as I write this comment in a meeting.
Ha…they are super addictive. Get off that phone!
Similarly I’ve avoided a company phone all these years to stay unplugged when I’m not at work. I even had employees reporting to me with phones. If I had one I’d be checking messages and email all the time. It’s too tempting to never turn off.
Way to tempting to never turn it off. I still find myself wanting to check it. Not cool at all. Kudos to avoiding a work phone!
Something similar was recommended in The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris – basically unplug from news, email, and other things that don’t add value to your life. I believe he referred to it as avoiding information overload. Good to hear the results of the experiment – maybe I’ll give that a try! I never have urgent personal email, and I already don’t check work email off hours.
Ah…yes the four hour work week. I have yet to read it. Information overload sounds like a real thing. It is funny because I am visiting my parents this week. My son is running around and I look up and both of my parents are on their iPhones. I have to click them back to reality so they can focus on their grandson.
Give it a try. I get to my blog in the mornings and nights. It seems to be going okay.