Freedom from email…

I recently turned off all the email notifications on my mobile devices. Pretty much all of the email I get is non-urgent, so why do I need to be notified right away whenever I get a message? Actually, I don’t. It feels like I cut the electronic umbilical cord. I am only checking email two or three times a day, on my schedule.

Like the telephone, email has become almost useless but still necessary. I still do quite a lot of work on email, and it’s important that people be able to get in touch with me easily that way. But I get so many unnecessary emails each day, so many social-network updates and newsletters and notifications of “deals,” that the noise of it overwhelms me. By turning off that little email notification icon on my phone and tablet, I turn off the perceived urgency of email. Rather than email ruling me, demanding that I read and respond when it comes in, I can now manage it, on my own terms.

So how do people get a hold of me? Surprisingly, Google+ has become the best way. Many of the people who I want and need to talk to on a regular basis use Google+, and there is very little noise (so far). Pretty much every conversation initiated on Google+ is a conversation I want to have. So I have left the Google+ notifications on. A phone call or a text are also effective if a quick response is needed.

Notifications from other social networks or from my blogs are generally non-urgent, so I deal with them when I read my email–once or twice daily. It’s such a simple thing, but turning off non-urgent notifications on the devices I always have with me has removed a big stressor from my life. Would you consider turning off your email or social network notifications, or would you miss not being immediately informed?

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