30 Days of Email Domination: Mind Control

By Sol in Blog

It’s been a week and a half since I last checked my email.

I don’t miss it in the least.

Checking my messages has been a regular Saturday morning activity for the past 5 months, so I was curious about how I would feel when Saturday came rolling by without a visit to the inbox. Surprisingly, when I remembered that I wouldn’t be checking my email until next week, all I felt was relief. The thought passed and so did any urge to see how many unread messages I had.

Two weeks without email should be easy.

While Smartlabels have made managing messages a breeze, forwarding filters have virtually liberated me from email altogether. I no longer wonder whether there’s an important message waiting for me– when a message that I deem to be important arrives, I am notified immediately.

And that’s the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my forwarding filters. Nonetheless, these instant message notifications– even if they are for messages that I want— are distractions. No, it’s worse– notifications are mind control.

Even if I’m completely focused on something else, when that little bell rings, my hand is lifting my phone out of my pocket to check the message before I even realize it. If I don’t check the message, like this morning when I woke up and saw that I had new messages, then I’m burning with curiosity until I do (I forced myself to wait for a few hours).

By Appointment Only

So what are you to do when your forwarding filters are deciding when you are notified about messages? Well, you ask if has an appointment of course!

1. Be Exclusive

First, I have completely disabled Gmail sync on my Android phone. This means zero notifications for new messages– no one gets in.

2. Set up Office Hours

Using the flexible Llama app, I set up an automated event that uses Synker to sync with Gmail once a day. Now email invades my mind on my schedule.

Finally, I’m Cheating

While my phone is now protected from rogue email notifications, my tablet is not. That’s right, I’ll still be getting instant notifications on my tablet, but there are two good(ish) reasons for this:

First, turning off sync 99% of the time is pretty aggressive, so continuing to receive notifications on my tablet is a “safe” way to test this on my phone while still having to instant notifications in case I did not account for all potential issues (note: I did not).

Second, the tablet is out of sight for most of the day, generally only coming out after dinner for some reading. As a result, even if the tablet is getting instant notifications, I generally will not be seeing them.

I’ll be testing this setup for the next week and report back.