Recently I did something that still has me shocked to my core.
Something that made me hyperventilate as I did it, utterly terrified of what this one thing would mean for my future. And yet, I was thrilled I was brave enough to take the chance.
Ready? . . .
I deleted work email off of my phone.
I have never once considered this a possibility in all my years of running my business. I never once considered that having email on my phone was a choice.
I chose to open my email 100x a day. It became a habit I couldn’t break.
I opened email the moment I woke.
I opened email when I was out with friends, on vacation, at dinner, unwinding at night while watching TV.
I opened email when trying to meditate!
I opened email when my work hours were “closed.”
I opened email right before I went to sleep at night, just to see what I might have to deal with the next day.
And yet I didn’t see the correlation between that and my stress. I work from home. There is no boundary between my personal life and work life.
Or so I thought.
People would constantly say, “Just set work hours and don’t break them,” as if it was that easy. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to do this. How does one just stop work when it’s always there, just an app, notification, or laptop away? How does one turn it off?
In my case, one deletes email off their phone.
Suddenly, this tiny, gigantic, incredible step opened up a world of possibility for me.
It created a boundary.
The first day, my thumb automatically kept reaching to open the app, as it did 100x a day before. It was a habit that I’d been doing for almost a decade without a thought. I failed to recognize the choice that was involved in this small, little, terrible habit. To combat this, I moved other, better apps like Podcasts and Audible into the spaces where the old email icons were. And soon my energy was no longer consumed by the biggest stressor in my life: other people’s expectations and agendas.
Now, I’m not saying I ignore email, friend! I would never. But for the first time in the history of KM Editorial, email is not the first thing I see when I open my eyes for the day. It’s not the last thing I check before I go to sleep. It’s not what I stress over when I’m nowhere near my computer and unable to even do anything about whatever issue arose.
Instead, I check email when my workday begins. And when I close my laptop at the end of the day, the workday is truly over. Boundaries are set. Because deleting the app isn’t about trying to avoid work agendas. It’s about creating boundaries.
For the record, I’m not literally saving lives here as a book coach. Everything can wait until the next day. Of course, if you do save lives for a living, please don’t delete the best form of communication for you to keep doing that.
I challenge you, if you can (and only you truly know the answer if you can, so be honest with yourself), to delete your emails off of your phone. Or, pick one thing that you think you have to do because you’ve never considered there was another option out there…and do the other option. Delete a social media app you never use (or that you hate to open and yet constantly do). Move Kindle or Audible onto your homescreen/shortcuts. Put your social media apps into a small folder, on page 5 or 6 of your phone, forcing you to take just that extra few seconds to open, and thus, giving you those extra seconds to decide if opening it then is even worth it.
If boundaries in some form are an issue for you, then set them up in a way that will work for you, no longer against you. Realize there are options out there, for everything. You can change your approach at any time in your life.
How will you set a boundary today?
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