In the mornings when I wake up I enjoy the luxury of languishing in my dreams. Catching them as the veil between night and day lifts requires a degree of sleepy consciousness.
When I am being devoted to my personal needs I meditate first thing, but if I’m totally honest this golden time, was often replaced by a flurry of unconscious activity on my smartphone. I have an international lifestyle and a small, global business, so wherever I am in the world my friends have been active on social media and clients have been in touch on email overnight.
It’s always that way.
As I roll over and hit the alarm I’m often naturally drawn to check the conversations from friends around the world on my smartphone. Deep down I knew it wasn’t a healthy way to start the day, after all aren’t our bedrooms meant for sex and sleep, not surfing online?
Breaking the early morning surf
A couple of years ago, in an attempt to reduce the amount of time I spent surfing aimlessly my smartphone, I removed apps for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (I love Instagram too much to let it go!) It worked a little, I did reduce my browsing time, however the mind is sharp and I quickly adapted back to using Safari to get my social media fix.
I became conscious of my usage but have yet to break the early morning surf – maybe I should learn to actually surf. Given I have a fear of being dunked underwater I’m seeing that strategy has a flaw… Seriously though I am considering going old school with an alarm clock and keeping my phone in another room overnight. Extreme? Maybe, but I’d like to practice my morning meditation more.
A bold choice
Then I made a bold choice. It wasn’t an idea that had been brewing for a long time. It just came in a flash of inspiration. I decided to delete email from my smartphone. If I did how would I survive?… I wondered for a moment if this was crazy, quickly decided it was totally sane and thought I’d try it for a few days and see what happened.
The impact of deleting email was far greater than removing the apps
I found my mind immediately clearer without this external source of noise. To be honest I have a small amount of email each day compared to many people. I’ve made it my mission to reduce email over the past year and any more than 30 emails in my inbox is a cause for concern.
I don’t have a huge volume of email, but I do take care with those I receive and give each reply time and thought. I also prefer to write from my laptop and not my smartphone unless it’s a very brief response. As a result checking email on my phone causes a distraction, splits my energy and reduces my focus on the person or activity in front of me.
It prevents me being present.
It felt like a big risk but the rewards have been great.
Email is now contained to my laptop. I have more headspace and am more present without email on my phone. The longer I have left it the less I miss it. I also took the next step and brought an alarm clock and have banished my smartphone, iPad and laptop from my bedroom. I haven’t looked back.
If you would like to be more mindful and be less distracted day-to-day here are three tips that can help:
- Set your smartphone to airplane mode at night. If you’re not already doing this and you use your phone as an alarm clock, please take this one small step so you’re not energetically receiving emails through the night.
- Turn Outlook or Mail to offline for set periods of your day. Check and reply to email once in the morning, and again if you need to in the afternoon. Remember the less you send the less you receive.
- I know some of you have tens of thousands of emails. It’s an energy drain. Imagine them as letters on your desk, you wouldn’t function. Get rid of junk and clean up your inbox using the brilliant Unroll.Me app.
I would love to hear from you. Have you tried to delete email from your smartphone? How did it go? Or does the thought of it terrify you? Pop your thoughts in the comments box below and let’s continue the conversation.