Pavlov’s dog had nothing on most BlackBerry/iPhone/BlackJack/other PDA users.
All too often, we (and I include myself) hear the “beep” or feel the vibration and pounce immediately, even in the middle of a sentence — our own or someone else’s. And I’ve seen (and though I’d prefer not to admit it, experienced) the discomfort that can occur when someone knows there’s an email waiting but doesn’t pounce. The ticks, the nervousness. It’s almost pathological sometimes.
Recently, I decided to drive for a business trip rather than fly, and for safety’s sake, I didn’t want to be tempted to look at my BlackBerry everytime an email came in. So I set the profile to ring for phone calls only, and to be silent otherwise. I drove almost 150 miles before I had to stop for gas, and I checked the BlackBerry then. I had about 40 messages, none of them urgent. And I had a strange feeling that I subsequently identified as peace. Peace! No irritating noises, no demands, no irrelevant press releases. It was a good change.
That was a month ago, and I’ve continued to keep my BlackBerry on “phone only.” If I’m expecting something urgent, I ask for a phone call rather than an email, and it’s been truly instructive to discover how much better conversations are when I’m not wondering about the email I just heard arriving. And the truth is, I have yet to miss anything important as a result of this practice.
Try it. Just for today. You can change back tomorrow if you like. I predict you won’t want to, and I predict you’ll be more present to your work, the people you’re with, even your own relaxation. And in turn, you’ll be more productive and more creative.
Not a bad return on eliminating an irritant, is it?