It's 10pm at night on January 3rd 2016. I'm opening my work email inbox on my phone. What did I miss? Does anyone need anything from me? Did I say something wrong? Who's mad at me? What can I do right now to make sure everyone is happy?
Does this sound familiar? This was me almost a year ago. I was completely intoxicated with my work emails. I was receiving a phenomenal quantity of messages and I was continuously thinking about it.
Something was wrong, really wrong. Was it the work? Did I have a bad job? Were they asking too much of me and forcing me to do this? The answer may come to you as a surprise, but it's no! No they were not. Most companies expect you to be able to prioritize your tasks and raise the flag when there's an issue. If you constantly say yes and pretend like everything is fine, you're in for a bad crash.
Talking with my fiancé and working with my life coach, I was able to look at the situation from the outside and see that something was definitely not working out. I wasn't fully grasping the situation, but I knew it was time to do something about it. Being a workaholic for over 10 years, I didn't quite expect what was to come.
I picked up the 4-Hour Workweek book by Tim Ferriss and read through it 10 pages at a time. I would then apply what I read. I didn't quit my job, no. Some of the main things I did were raise a flag with my boss, hired a new person on the team, and attacked my email issue.
Cutting back on checking my emails at night was the toughest thing for me to do. I didn't expect to go through a phase of withdrawal side-effects. For an entire week, I couldn't sleep. I was sweating, turning, panicking, and having nightmares. There were a couple of reasons for this. I had trained my brain to check emails like this for ten years and there were missing things in my life.
I wasn't clear on my life's purpose and my dreams. What I wanted was really conflicting. Money wasn't clear either. Most of all, my health was going out the window. All and all, I had a fairly steep hill to climb.
With focused intentions and actions, I got my health back on track, I stopped doing humongous amount of overtime, I fixed my diet, I detoxified myself from my addiction to emails, I stopped binge-watching Netflix, and clarified my core values and life's purpose.
Social media, smart phones, emails, and TV can become an addiction that's used to mask a void. It's like drinking. We forget ourselves in it. In moderation, these things are really useful. Cross the line and you fall into a trap.
When you have to wait for two to five minutes, are you able to stay there doing nothing or are you systematically looking for you phone? Does it itch you if you don't find it? Mmmmmmm.....
Here are a few things you can do to dig yourself out of this pit:
- Read the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
- Disable all push notifications on your apps, mainly the social ones. Hide that bloody red badge. It's so distracting. You open your phone to go set your alarm clock and you end up on Facebook because you cousin's neighbour also commented on his post... Then you're on Instagram because 32 people liked your picture. You finally turn off your phone... and you forgot to set your alarm.
- Before opening your phone, take note of the app you were going to use. When you open your phone, go there directly and don't stop by 12 other apps first.
- Set a specific time to check your social apps. It doesn't matter if for three hours, John doesn't know you like his new guitar.
- Create filters for your emails. Send meetings notification in a separate box. Check your calendar instead.
- Unsubscribe from every single newsletters that is not useful or essential to you.
- Set aside two specific periods of time to check your emails.
- At home, close your laptop lid and put your phone far away from you.
- Decide which nights you WON'T turn on the television. It should be the majority of them.
- Find a creative or captivating hobby that doesn't involve technology. Create something. Cook, knit, crochet, garden, sew, woodcraft, draw, paint, scrapbook, make jewelry, build miniature models, do a puzzle, play chess. Do something that takes time, focus, and attention, something that requires several sessions to complete.
- Find your core values.
- Fill the free TV, computer, and phone time with meaningful activities that build your life and move you forward.
Who Am I? I'm many things. I'm passionate about tons of stuff. I love travel. I love self-improvement. I'm a sucker for optimization, efficiency, and minimalism. I renewed with mathematics and science, those are so amazing. Astronomy and chemistry are just plain awesome! I'm a student, a mentor, a traveler, a learner, an artist, an animator, and Disney brings me tears of joy! I love to grow and I will never stop! So who am I? All that and everything else I have not discovered about myself yet. It's a never ending answer!
Qui suis je? Je suis beaucoup de choses. Je suis passionné des tonnes de trucs. J'adore voyager. J'adore la croissance personnelle. Je suis vendue à l'optimisation, l'efficacité et le minimalisme. J'ai renoué avec les mathématiques et les sciences, des mondes tout simplement incroyable. L'astronomie et la chimie sont tout simplement génial! Je suis étudiante, mentor, voyageuse, artiste, animatrice et Disney m'apporte des larmes de joie! J'aime me pousser à fond et je ne cesserai jamais! Alors, qui suis-je? Tout cela et tout le reste que je n'ai pas encore découvert de moi-même. C'est une réponse sans fin!