Practice

A Week Without Email on My Phone

distractionWell, it’s Monday. I did it. A week without email or twitter access on my phone (the two things I check most compulsively). Nobody else said they were going to try it, but I took the plunge anyway. Here’s a few of my thoughts and consequences:

  • Remember that sinking feeling that we got when I first mentioned it? Goes away. Really fast. As in, I’m sitting here now trying to remember what I was worried about.
  • The world didn’t end. Not even once. There wasn’t one message the entire week that couldn’t wait until I had time to go on my iPad or computer and check or answer it.
  • I had access – as noted above, my iPad and laptop still had email (I even left the latter home for the weekend while we went to Michigan to see friends).
  • I have “check e-mail” muscle memory. My phone was near me when we were watching tv; at one point I picked it up, turned it on…and realized I was about to check email. Except there was no email on the phone, so I sheepishly put it back down. This happened more than once, and I find myself wondering when it will stop.
  • I didn’t get bored, but I tended to look at things that either were not emotionally charged or work-oriented, like Instagram, Pinterest (happy pictures!) or reading books through Scribd (I LOVE SCRIBD! Do you have SCRIBD? Why not? Click and get SCRIBD!)
  • That is, mostly not emotionally charged. I also discovered a resurgence of an old habit: news addiction. I scrolled through news stories much more, and that’s a habit I need to nip in the bud.

Now, for those of you who are thinking that “it’s fine for you, Gray, you obviously aren’t as urgently needed via email as I am!” you’re probably right. There were exactly two times – today, in fact – that I tried to pull up email and send it – to the person sitting across from me at lunch.

You know what happened when I couldn’t? I talked to her instead, telling her what the email would have said. I saved her from having to click a little extra, I reduced eyestrain, I increased oxytocin through human interaction.

On the other hand, as Natasha and I were waiting for a movie to start, I realized I had a client that might have sent me a graphic for a publication I’m designing. I went through the hoops and such to try and restore email to my phone. You know what? It didn’t really work – not only did the apps not restore automatically, by the time I got a phone browser to actually look at my account, I had realized that even if they did send the graphic, I couldn’t do anything with it right then.

Incidentally, they still haven’t sent it. Waitasec…no. I’m resisting the urge to check a different tab on the browser and see if they did.

See how easy it is?

Will I put email back on my phone? I think not. I think, now that our KonMari process has given our home the spaciousness we wanted, it’s time to take the “unhurried” part seriously, and this…this feels like a first small step in that process.

How about you? Now that you know it’s not that scary…are you going to try? C’mon; it’s only for a week…

I’m still putting these posts on YouTube, also. If you like them, or have suggestions, please let me know in the comments here or there!

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