We’ve all been there. Your alarm (on your cell) goes off, it’s time to get up, but wait- your phone is already in your hand, so you might as well do a quick notification and email check, right? It’s too easy. And all too often we find ourselves entering the day looking at the fact that we have 50 (or more, yikes!) emails, instagram, twitter, and facebook notifications.
This is honestly a little embarrassing to write (#noshamegang, but really this is cringey), but for a long time I found myself either crushed by the anxiety of seeing notifications I had or dashing out of bed because I’ve found an email/facebook message reminding me of a nearby deadline. YIKES, right? And to make matters worse, I would do all thist rushing to get to my computer just to get there and freeze! I haven’t done a thing to get in the right headspace to work, I haven’t had breakfast, maybe not even a glass of water and now I’ll probably sit there for an hour trying to figure out where to start.
I did that for a long time before I realized that I had some major boundary issues with work and life. I do a lot of freelancing and working from home made me feel like there’s never really a time that I shouldn’t be able to take work, and that is hugely wrong. So, I disabled my email accounts on my phone. Toggling that setting off was one of the smallest things I could’ve done that had some of the biggest impact.
I Get Out of Bed Faster
This is not a gimmick. Knowing that I have emails to answer will get me out of bed on time because I have a morning routine to attend to before I allow myself to touch my computer that I refuse to skip. I need 30 minutes (literally) to do my skincare routine. If I didn’t shower the night before, I need to do that. I like to journal in the morning, too. And I absolutely do not check emails before I’ve eaten breakfast. The things I do before I check my email are all a part of a routine that helps center me for the day, so I can do my job effectively. Trusting that process- me, then emails + work- has made sitting down to focus much easier.
I Check My Emails More Intentionally
When I make checking emails a thing that I have to do actively instead of passively, I can do it more intentionally. I know that sounds pretentious, but stick with me for a second. If someone is emailing me, they need something from me or are responding to something that I need from them (usually). When I go to those emails, in my mind I set myself up to be as helpful as I can possibly be to whomever is trying to contact me. I’m setting specific time aside during my day to communicate with people and it changes the entire experience. I’m not just clearing a notification for the sake of getting it off my phone screen, I’m there to help someone accomplish something.
I Set Boundaries Between Me + My Work
When I started working from home, it made that line between me + my work so blurry. I don’t have to keep regular hours, but that usually comes out meaning that I can work all hours of the day. Having email notifications pop up on my phone 24/7 effectively leaves me “on” all of the time. My mind is rarely at rest. By removing email from my phone + only answering between certain hours, I let both myself + others know that I am not always available. I need to rest. Just because you can be available 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean you should be. Trust me. When you respect your personal boundaries, others do, too.
It Gave Me Permission to Check Emails On My Phone
I know. CURVEBALL. I still check emails on my phone sometimes. I rarely have it enabled, but sometimes I do- especially when I’m expecting important emails that I will need to respond to immediately. There are times when enabling those emails is necessary, I KNOW, but aggressively sticking to that boundary for a bit built the habit in order to appreciate the peace it brought to me. Now, when I do have my emails enabled, it’s breezy. When it’s time to disable them again, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. In fact, I’m excited to do it. Other people recognize that boundary now too + when busy time is over, they go right back to respecting it.
Try This for 3 Weeks + See How You Feel
I see you working overtime. I see you busting your butt, and you look TIRED. Give yourself a mental break. I told myself that I would do this for 21 days just to see if it made a difference + it did. It might not make that same difference for you, but it’s worth your time to explore the possibility. Who knows? You may find a different area in your life that needs some reviewing.
But listen- if the notifications are killing you, if the emails are kicking your anxiety’s behind, then babe- it’s time. Take a break from checking emails on your phone.
Do you keep emails enabled on your phone all the time? What’s your kryptonite? Let me know in the comments!