The iPhone is by far the coolest gadget I’ve ever had. It’s made things easier in more ways than I can count – and it’s made things worse in at least one big way:
I check email all the time.
I’m not one of those crazy people that you can’t ever make eye contact with because they always have a phone in front of their face, but I am one of those people that hits the email button right after I get out of bed in the morning…or when I’m filling up the car with gas on a Saturday afternoon…or in those few precious moments when Luke is playing peacefully by himself and can’t see me glancing at my phone. (He can’t see that, right?)
It’s a bad habit I’ve been meaning to address for awhile, but I had three really good excuses:
- I need email when I’m on the road at customer sites all day (mostly true).
- You can’t remove the mail icon from the iPhone and if you turn off accounts, it resets some notification settings (annoyingly true).
- I’m not as bad as a lot of people are (possibly true).
…OK, maybe just two good excuses.
After checking email too many mornings in a row before my feet hit the ground, I decided a week ago that I should disrupt my workflow. I moved the mail icon on my iPhone into a folder on a back screen so it took several seconds for me to find and launch.
The first day, I realized how much I watched email. When I unlocked the phone, I immediately found myself hitting the spot on the screen where the mail icon used to be. I must have opened up Chrome (the icon that replaced it) 20–30 times that day. Even when I didn’t want to look at email, the muscle memory was so ingrained that I went there first.
The additional time and thought it now takes me to get to the mail app has stopped me in my tracks about 95% of the time. A week later, I couldn’t tell you if I am any more or less productive than I was a week ago…but I don’t much care, since I am happier. I don’t see problems on email before I get out of bed. I don’t spend much personal time thinking about my inbox. And, Luke got someone who stayed with him in the moment a bit better this week.
When I do work through email 2–3 times a day, I’m a lot more focused now. I still email a lot, but I’m more intentional about processing it all at once.
If you want different results, break bad workflows.
What workflow could you break to produce better results? Answer below.