Confession: I Took My Email OFF My Phone

Posted on February 18, 2015

About six months ago, I decided that working constantly wasn’t healthy, wasn’t necessary, wasn’t giving me any sort of credibility, and really wasn’t helping me get ahead. At that time, I was doing what everyone else is doing – working all of the time, working until late at night, emailing during dinner, emailing on the treadmill, looking at pointless stomach-turning emails before bed, letting my wheels spin until the second my head hits the pillow, sleeping with my phone under my pillow, waking up to Skype alerts, rolling out of bed just to get on the next conference call, using my weekends for work emails, and just constantly scrolling through the emails on my phone.

I was in Las Vegas in October basically sitting at the pool trying to have some relax time with a friend before the hectic traveling started again, I was doing my usual – scrolling through my work emails. And finally I noticed what I was doing and said to myself, “Why are you doing this? This is your only relax time and you are scrolling your work emails? What is that important that you need to think about now? How are you relaxing if you are responding to your employees on a Saturday? What is so important that has to be done right now?” And that was it. It was the moment where I said, “NO”. I refused to be a part of the “constantly working” crew any longer. I went into my email settings on my phone and I literally deleted my work email account. It was so easy. When I pressed the “delete email account” I felt like such a rebel – like I did something bad. I remember sort of shrugging and thinking, let’s see what happens.

When I told friends, colleagues, and fellow entrepreneurs that I took my email off my phone, they looked at me like I was crazy – as if I committed a crime. And it made me question my actions – did I commit a crime by trying to take back a piece of my life and my sanity? They asked, “What about during the week? You don’t want your email on your phone?”

Have I gone the long way and logged into my email sever through my phone at times? Yes. Absolutely. I’ve been in Beverly Hills on a Tuesday afternoon walking to my car after a meeting and definitely said to myself, “I’m on the go. I should check my email and just see what’s happening.” But I’d rather make myself go the extra steps to log into my email and not have that addictive habit of just scrolling my emails to scroll my emails.

The reality is, when I’m on the go, I usually cannot be working. In fact, sometimes when I see emails on the go, I feel sort of worthless – if a situation does arise, I’m typically in a situation where I can’t really handle it. For example, when I’m in the car I shouldn’t – I can’t – be texting and driving. I’ve found that I’m more attentive in meetings because I don’t have that addictive refresh button to press.

I’ve noticed that when I have time to actually work is when I want to deal with all of the crazy emails – when I’m on my computer the emails are easier to handle, file, and deal with. Who wants to deal with a negative email at 10PM before you are about to relax for the evening or while you are in between meetings and can’t handle it? I’d rather be in a situation where I’m in “work” mode and have my computer out.

I realize that taking your email off your phone isn’t an option for everyone. Some businesses require their employees are available at all times. I run a small business – I have five employees – but I’m trying to make the small change. I’ve told my employees that they should take their email off their phone as well and I have to remind myself that I can’t assume they’ve seen an email come through on a Saturday. If I need them for something (which does happen), I call them or text them. If I happen to be working with my computer on a Saturday, and have something urgent pop up, I’ll text them and ask them to log into their email when they get a chance. But for me, the boss, the employer, to have some sort of expectation for them to be working in their off-time just feels unfair.

Because I took my email off my phone, I’ve been able to develop healthier personal habits. I don’t go to bed with a nervous stomach because I saw an email I didn’t need to see right before I go to sleep. I’m able to be more focused on what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with because I’m not constantly scrolling. I feel more relaxed when I’m not working which actually helps me to focus more when I am working.

Would you ever take your email off your phone? Sound off below.