why i deleted the email app from my phone

tl;dr

You’re allowed a life outside of the business. If you’re feeling work is creeping a little too much into your personal life, give my method a go!

 It’s been a year  since I deleted anything email related from my phone. No gmail app, no sneaky login via the browser. No emails on my phone.

And the decision that led to this blissful email free phone? Burnt salmon.

It was a freezing cold Tuesday night, I’d promised to cook for Sam. Half way through trying not to cook, I took a peek at my inbox.

Although I have never had notifications on my phone and my clients know I’m pretty strict with only replying during working hours, if I’m waiting on a response to something or need to email a supplier I used to sneak a peek “out of hours”.

That night as I scrolled through my inbox in there was an email from a supplier informing me something I had promised one of my wedding stationery couples wouldn’t be back in stock for six months.

Now, having been a bride recently I know full well that not being able to have something you had your heart set on can be majorly rubbish. It’s a first world problem but at the time, it can feel like a big deal.

My heart sank.
I forgot about the salmon. I invented a whole new meaning to “blackened salmon”
I ruined our meal and our night with my bad mood.
I spent all night worrying about how to break the bad news to my couple.

Come morning, I emailed my bride to explain the situation, apologised profusely and suggested alternatives. She replied back straight away.

Not with disappointment but instead:

“That’s ok and I’m secretly pleased as over the weekend we realised we actually prefer the other presentation option – could we go with that instead?”

All that worry and an evening ruined for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

At the time, I reflected on my mood from the previous night and how I’d let an email completely dictate my emotions and decided to move my email app into a folder where it can’t be seen without a good few swipes & clicks in an attempt to stop me from looking.

This worked for a while. I forgot about my emails but then gradually I started to revert back to my old habits.

Over the Christmas break in 2017 I made plans on how to better balance work & life, one being removing the email app from my phone. I figured, yes I own the business, I am the business but I’m also allowed a personal life and be a wife, sister, daughter and friend without my business dictating my every mood.

As I don’t reply to clients out of hours anyway, it was never going to effect my client relationships but it could lead to my mornings being taken over by an inbox of doom. To counteract this, I decide to start half an hour earlier & finish half an hour later each day, giving me, hopefully enough extra time to wade through my emails without effecting my working hours too much.

The Process

Day One
I completely forgot about my emails! I had a lovely evening, chilled on the sofa and didn’t even give it a second thought.

Day Two
The inbox anxiety kicked in at about 8pm. Repeated to self “remember burnt salmon night, remember burnt salmon night…”

Day Three
I stood in a Post Office queue thinking “I could be replying to emails right now – is this reducing my productivity?”

Day Four
The “what if my client has an emergency” dramas kicked in. After going over all of the potential scenarios of what really classes as a design emergency, the only real emergency that would ever warrant an out of hours response would be a client’s site going down.

Knowing my website clients have my number and also knowing how incredibly lovely they are, I’m pretty positive they would call/text but the likelihood is that they’d email and know I’d be on it as soon as I got to my desk.

Skipping forward to Week Three
During week three, I very nearly re-installed the app. I had a two hour mid-week car journey with Sam and my thoughts were being driven by the fact I could be replying to emails instead of “wasting” time sat doing nothing. Yet, it’s not wasting time though is it? It’s two hours of just me and my husband. Together. Instead, I took the decision to take over the playlist and sing badly to Cher.

God forbid anything does happen, but should I no longer be around, I don’t want to be the wife that was “always working”, “always on her phone”, I want to be the wife that is remembered for singing badly to songs my husband hates.

And now, a year on?

I don’t ever understand why I felt I needed the app on my phone.

I am way more productive with my inbox when at my desk now and, having asked regular clients, they have noticed a change in my efficiency since deleting the app.

I’m lucky to have amazing clients who, just like me, are trying to balance this whole business owner/life struggle so understand we need to set boundaries.

Granted, for those of you that work out and about during the day, it’s not something that will work well for you but I would definitely recommend moving your email app and seeing how you get on!

Love,

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