I’m a huge proponent of GTD. I use it to run my whole business and pretty much all of my life tasks.

GTD is all about removing cognitive load by putting tasks and notes in a trusted system. For me that system is OmniFocus and Evernote.

The thing is that I break my own system way too often by checking email on my phone.

For email on the desktop I use MailPlane and it has a great bridge that sends email links to OmniFocus. That means by highlighting some text in MailPlane I can create a to do note in OmniFocus with a link back to the email.

When I click the link in OmniFocus it opens MailPlane and takes me directly to that message.

It’s easy and means I don’t have to go hunting for email threads.

The thing is that I can’t do this from my phone. Sure I can email myself a to do item and it will show up in the OmniFocus inbox but there is no link back to the message.

Nor can I accomplish email tasks easily from my phone out of OmniFocus since the link goes to an application that doesn’t exist on my phone.

That means checking email on my phone (outside of when I’m out of the office for the day and need to) is a total waste of time.

Not in the system

Checking email from my phone means that I end up with a huge list of emails that are just sitting in the inbox and taking up some of my brain power.

Most of the emails simply can’t be dealt with. They need a server password, or links to multiple things. Maybe I need to look at the PSD file I was just sent. Maybe I need to type a long response that just isn’t suited to phone typing at all.

So they sit in the back of my brain and inbox not dealt with. Taking up valuable focus.

I need that brain power to get other things done.

I need those cycles to be fully invested in my family.

Instead I keep (yes despite best efforts) wasting them checking email on my phone.

So as I write this I’m turning off email on my phone. The simple fact is that if I need email I can toggle a switch and email will be back on my phone and if it’s really an emergency then call me.

For a long time I’ve had all notifications off for email. No badges, or beeps. Now I’ve taken the next logical step.

Do you have a system for email? Do you actually stick to it or do you get back to the habit of checking email in places where you can do nothing about it?

photo credit: PhilipRood.com via photopin cc

2 responses to “I just turned off email on my phone”

  1. Drew Avatar

    Notifications in general are killer, they can interrupt a day big time. Last year I removed work email from my phone and my days aren’t preoccupied anymore with constant checking! I still have my personal on there, but I keep things well separated so it doesn’t matter.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Yeah I still have personal on my phone but email is on the second screen. I’ve actually turned the badge back on even for personal email. I get so little that it’s worth knowing when I need to check it.