Last Wednesday I moved the mail app on my iPhone and iPad to the back page of apps and vowed to not check email via my devices for one week. I was trying to see if I felt more or less efficient and more or less happy when I only read and dealt with email at my computer.
Before I share the "results" I wanted to give a quick back story so you know where I am coming from.
I am NOT AT ALL a "technology is ruining our lives!" person. I don't worry about "screentime." I do love my iPhone but I don't think that makes me a better or worse human, wife or mom. I absolutely don't believe this has to be an all or nothing situation.
Recently though, I have realized that 98% of the emails I receive (that need a response) are work-related. For the most part, all personal correspondence is done via text and all work is done via email. Which means every time I check my email I'm opening up the work portion of my brain; sometimes for no real reason at all.
Only about 10% of all emails can be answered with a quick sentence or two typed on my phone. So 90% of emails get read on my phone and then I find myself thinking about them until I have time to sit down at my computer and write the response or attach the file or find the link or send the money or make a note of the meeting or ship the order.
It's not ideal and it seemed like it would be more logical to just cut out the middle man (non-on-the-job Elise) and wait to read and respond to emails while sitting at my desk when I am in "work mode" and able to properly deal with everything.
So, how did my week go?
Pretty well. I didn't check email from my devices once. I did find myself going into my office more often to check email on my computer, but not nearly as often as I would have checked my phone. I also found that because I wasn't constantly pulling out my phone to see if an email had come in, I wasn't checking social media (quite) as much as usual either. (Which was an unexpected, but welcome bonus.)
The hardest part was the weekday mornings. The hours between when Ellerie woke up (6am) and, depending on the day, when the babysitter came (8am) or I get home from daycare drop off (8:30) or Ellerie went down for nap time (11:30) felt like a really long time to not know what was waiting for me in my inbox. I felt very much like I had an addiction during those hours. Which, let's be honest, was sort of alarming.
The evenings were much better than normal though. It was nice to check and deal with email (and then be done. It was nice to know I couldn't "just check my email real quick" before turning off the light before falling asleep. (Why would I do that?! Who does that help!?)
And overall, I felt better about how I spent my time. I knew in theory that it was much more efficient for me to just sit and respond to all my email in longer blocks of time than to be constantly responding in snippets and feel anxious about what's on my plate. It was nice to put the theory into practice for seven days. I spent less time (by far) dealing with email last week than the week prior. And mostly, it was refreshing to NOT think about refreshing.
I'm going to keep it up.
ps. I had one question about if I'm giving up social media on my devices and the answer is no. I love Instagram and check it often. I like Twitter and check it consistently. But neither of those apps stress me out which would be the reason I would cut back.
And speaking of email, today on the podcast I'm chatting with Amy Schubert about my email newsletter. What I do right, what I do wrong and what I could be doing better. It's an honest discussion of a specific form of marketing and I was happy to play guinea pig. We also provide useful tips for newsletters of all sizes. Subscribe to ELISE GETS CRAFTY on iTunes or stream today's episode here!