Would You Ever Banish Your Cell Phone?

Monday March 21, 2016

I’m continuing my quest to apply workplace productivity measures to my own life as a stay-at-home-mom, blogging-hobbyist.

Last week, I wrote about applying the 20 second rule. This week? Banishing my cell phone. (I know, gasps of horror, right? Hear me out.)

In “The 4-Hour Work Week”, Timothy Ferriss advises only checking email twice per day. I don’t particularly understand how this applies to most workers, but I am not most workers: I’m a stay at home mom, basically in charge of my own schedule and no one emails me with ASAP deadlines.

But, even for me, twice a day seems fairly minimal. So, instead, taking the spirit of the advice even if not the word of the advice, I decided to focus on my cellphone instead. With the thing pinging and chirping and twittering at me all day, I don’t really “check my email” as much as I am continuously responding to incoming anything. Surely, I could do better than that.

The end result: my cellphone has been banished to the bathroom during “work hours” (defined as approximately 7:30am to 5pm) I check my phone if I happen to be in the bathroom. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind. Since we live in a small apartment, I’ve also silenced incoming notifications. Nope, not even vibrate. Silenced. That way, I’m not tempted to “just check what that was…”

You won’t be surprised to hear that since I’ve banished it, I am less distracted as we go through our day. Noticeably less distracted. Which in the end, makes me feel like I have a lot more time on my hands.

In addition to that, applying the 20 second rule, if something comes in the few times per day that I check my phone now, I either respond instantly (if it takes less than 20 seconds) or wait until a time that I’m sitting at my computer. I only sit at my computer once or twice per day during work hours, so it’s easy to consolidate all the things I need to do into one of those sessions. Those items get my full attention and focus, compared to dealing with them piecemeal over my phone.

I’m really happy with this division of work, and I also feel that it’s healthy for Bean to see. Before, I’d be playing with her when something popped up and I’d silently stop playing with her to deal with whatever (I know. It’s the worst. Please tell me we all do this??) With the cell phone banished, when I am with her, she gets my full attention and she knows it. When I have some work to do on my computer, she knows that I’m not available for the next 10 minutes.

Do you feel like you might check your email/texts/incoming news items too frequently? You might want to give this a try.


Motherhood, Work

2 Responses to “Would You Ever Banish Your Cell Phone?”

  1. Though I don’t really follow it, my official policy as a freelancer is that “Email is processed twice a day, Monday-Friday” (It’s in my email signature.) This has never been a problem. I am not a brain surgeon, no one will die if I don’t respond immediately. One reason I went freelance is because work had taken over my life. If you don’t set boundaries, no one else is going to do it for you.


    3/22/2016 at 8:54 am

  2. Oh, that’s a great idea to put it in your email signature.


    3/22/2016 at 3:03 pm