Monday, February 24, 2014

A new good habit

I'm back - and in a new color yet again.  Hopefully you are not singing "You got so many colours make a blind man so confused" by Scissor Sisters now.  

I stumbled across an article last fall/winter about how employees using (a newer version) Outlook on their smart phones are susceptible to having all of their data erased by their employers.  Apparently it is a theft protection process where employers can go in and wipe out a phone remotely through Outlook if the phone has been compromised so that private information is not revealed.  This was a NPR story, however I hadn't heard much more about since then.  However, in late winter, my employer decided to update our systems, including Outlook.  It had to then be erased and reloaded onto your smartphone.  When I started to do that, some warnings came up, asking to give my employers permission for different things.  I didn't have a chance to read it, so decided against loading it onto my phone.  Plus, it was right before the holidays - I figured it was a good time to take a technology break.  

Fast forward to present day - I still have not loaded it on my phone.  I can access my email through a website if need be.  And, if I am "on" for work - I don't have access to email (in theory).  If I am "off", I am sitting in front of my computer, where I can access email via desktop.  

My new good habit is this: I am checking email a lot less frequently.  It started as I was "off" and trying to design something new for the company. At first, I had my email open and wasn't getting much work done as an email would pop up and I would dutifully reply in .025 seconds upon receipt.  And then I noticed how unfocused on my project I was.  So I shut email down for the day, only checking it a couple of times a day. That was good.  But, then it got better.  

See, I was still in this awful state of feeling like I always had to know what emails were there, and so was checking email right before going to bed.  Well if that isn't a great way to ruin a good night's sleep, I don't know what is.  I would get myself all fired up about how I needed to reply to a recent email and wasn't fully relaxing and stepping away from work.  I have now been a full two months without having checked my email before bed.  In fact, I am pretty good about shutting it down at the end of the day. If, like tonight, I need to go in to get some other data, I acknowledge that I received some new emails and that they are dark bold and waiting to be read, and get my material I need and leave.  I have discovered something mind-altering - the emails will still be dark and bold and wanting to be read in the morning!  

This, for me, is one more small step towards breaking away from the mentality that I am my work, my work is me.  It's a small step - but it is a step in the right direction!

~Spicy Princess


  1. I am a bit addicted to my phone too, but I think I would probably not survive without it...

  2. I still check my personal accounts - that is too tough to give up! I did a 4-day digital detox the other week and realized how much I rely on thinking or discussing a topic and then immediately looking more information up about it.

    I am just not checking my work email these days. I took last Friday off and have not looked at work email since Thursday night. I bet that it will still all be there in the morning for me :) For now, I have a few more hours of work-free thinking. In not checking my work email, I realized 2 things. First, I am only a cog in the wheel of work - no one is bleeding out while waiting for my email. People's lives may be impacted over time by the work I do, but nothing is life-or-death situations to which an email of mine is the deciding factor. The second thing - I am a much better single-tasker than multi-tasker. In the past, I would look at an email while being "on" at work and would start thinking about how I was going to respond to that email - losing some of my focus on what I was supposed to be doing. Similarly, I was going to bed drifting off into dream land thinking about how I was going to handle that email's situation. Now, I drift off to sleep lighter - not worrying about things that were said or wondering about the tone or feeling that the email included.