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.