I'm going to take you back a few months - It's a Saturday morning...
When I awoke one of the first things I thought was “I should check my emails”. So I grabbed my phone and checked my emails.
From that moment on I was in two minds. It was the weekend and I was supposed to be spending time with my family. Instead, my mind was working whilst my body was in the room with my family.
Checking my emails had split my attention. Well actually it had taken my attention completely and because I was not able to action any of the things that arose from checking my emails I was stressed all day.
This was not a single occurrence. It had been happening more and more over the last two or three years and I decided that enough was enough.
Social Media was the first to go
For most of the last two years I had been checking my phone more and more to the point where I think I was suffering from an addiction.
I thought it was all the fault of “evil” social media.
I decided I should delete Facebook as that was the main problem.
For a while it felt good.
Over time, I began to check Instagram more and more.
I decided that that was the social platform I was going to use for my work so I gave myself a “valid reason” to be scrolling mindlessly throughout the day.
Then I began to notice a connection between checking Instagram and my mood and/or motivation taking a nosedive.
At first, I ignored this and blamed it on general fatigue but the problem persisted.
So I deleted Instagram from my phone.
Take that Facebook - I am no longer the slave to either of your platforms ha ha!
Well that was my thinking anyway.
Still I picked up my phone an embarrassing amount of times during the day.
My Phone was obviously the problem
I decided that my phone was obviously the real culprit here. Specifically the access to the internet.
So I kept my phone on airplane mode all day.
This was pretty nice for a spell but I began to fear taking it off airplane mode for the barrage of messages and emails and notifications I had missed.
This caused me a lot of stress.
This strategy obviously wasn’t working either.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE not having social media on my phone.
It has given me far less reason to check my phone and be mindless with my behaviour and it has been great for my mood to not see everyone else’s activity and start comparing.
But I was still checking.
Then it hit me.
My email was the trigger
It dawned on me that my email and my guilt about not checking my emails was the cue for checking my phone.
I was terrified that I would miss an email or an opportunity that could have arisen from my emails.
There was always the excitement attached to possibly making sales online and wanting to get emails about that too.
All of these things and more kept me stuck to this blurred life I was leading. Way too much time in my day was spent neither working nor being present in another activity.
I couldn’t even write music without checking my emails on my phone.
This was getting silly.
I read Beau Miles book, Backyard Adventurer, where he talks about making a huge mistake during one of his projects when he checked his email before starting work on the project and it left him in “two minds”
This sums up the problem I was having.
Despite being quite scared of getting rid of my emails from my phone I decided it was the last step before downgrading to a brick phone.
It has now been over a month without emails on my phone. This isn’t a huge amount of time but the difference in myself has been night and day.
When I am not working I have been much more present in my day-to-day life.
I have been a lot more focused on the tasks I am doing and the best part, I have been a lot more present with my family.
The great thing is that I really feel like I have been able to set much clearer work-life boundaries and I have been much more deliberate with my choices and time.
For years I convinced myself that I needed to have emails on my phone otherwise the world would end and everyone I work with would spit at me from a distance for being such a heathen.
I am by no means saying that I have curbed all of my unwanted habits but by removing the cue and craving of this particular habit I feel a lot more content and in control.
If it has been on your mind to do this, I highly recommend trying it for at least 30 days and seeing how you feel afterwards.
I think you will love it.