In light of my recent email rant I ran across this essay today by Stephen Heiner How I Ended my 6-Year Relationship with my Blackberry (H/T Daily Dish).
From the first part of the essay after he mentions a family who takes "Internet Sabbaths" on the weekends:
As I have coordinated with my employees the logistics of how to communicate with me sans Blackberry, I have also been taking practical baby steps by restricting my personal email. I started small. I cut off Blackberry access to my personal Gmail accounts. Gmail has an application for the Blackberry Storm that allows you to access multiple Gmail accounts (of which I have 4 – all differently purposed). When I deleted this app, it meant that for the first time in almost two years, I didn’t have access to my personal email until I got home from work (I didn’t allow myself to check it while there).Read the entire essay, it's a thought provoking read.
The first week was fascinating. I periodically checked the phone in my hand for the mail that wasn’t coming. I had deleted the application so I didn’t know whether I had new mail, but the vestigial reflex kept prompting me to check. I was reminded of the first month after I got Lasik, when I kept touching the bridge of my nose, my muscle memory adjusting the glasses I no longer wore.
In that first week I still faithfully checked my email twice a day and I found that this regimentation allowed me to be more efficient and thoughtful with my responses.
After three weeks, I actually didn’t check my personal email for a day or two. And the world didn’t end. In fact, I was perfectly fine.
As this breakthrough happened, I realized something deeper about the way we use phones – not just the smart ones: we are their slaves.