I Took Email Off My Phone for a Weekend & This is What Happened

Last weekend my sister rented a cabin in Wisconsin, so I went over to hang out with her family. My other sister and her family were there, too. I arrived on a Friday and still had a few items to cross off my to-do list for the week. I played with my nephew and after he went to bed I had some time to get that work done. Once I crossed everything off my list and responded to the remaining emails I did something I never do: I took email off my phone.

Okay, maybe never isn’t 100% accurate. There was a period of time where someone was stressing me out so I would take my email off of my phone at night and turn it on again in the morning. I needed to make sure his emails weren’t the first thing I saw when I checked my phone in the morning. And I took one email account off my phone when I went to Maine last fall. Other than that, the only time I’ve taken email off of my phone was a weekend that I spent with my niece and nephew when we watched all of the Harry Potter movies (yes, all of them) in a weekend. They spent a year reading the books and we had plans to celebrate Harry’s birthday with a movie marathon weekend, so I wanted to give them my full, undivided attention.

But still… this idea of taking email off of my phone always made me uncomfortable. Leading up to the weekend last year I let a few people know I wouldn’t respond until the following week. I also turned off text alerts for someone who I knew might take “no email” as “text instead.”

This time it was a spur of the moment decision. Cross the last item off my to-do list. Send one last email. Take email off phone.

And you know what happened?


Well, not nothing. I went on a boat ride and watched a bald eagle fish. I fought zombies. I tried to prevent disease from taking over the world. And failed. Numerous times. I read one of my favorite books.

And I felt so refreshed when I returned to work on Monday.

Are you like me? Is it hard to take email off of your phone? If you are, I encourage you to ask why. What is it about having your email on your phone that’s so important?

My reason: I like to be responsive and if I can respond quickly I like to be able to. But that doesn’t mean I always need to be responsive. In fact, always being responsive and not taking breaks will wear me down and make me less productive/not as efficient at what I do. I need a break.

And, if you’re like me, you need a break, too.

I know of people who have permanently removed email from their phone. I don’t anticipate ever making that decision; it’s really handy and convenient to be able to read and respond to emails on my phone and allows me to be productive during waiting periods when my phone is one of the few things I have with me.

But I’ll definitely take it off my phone more often.


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