New 30 Day Challenge: No Email First Thing

Inspired by Matt Cutts (30 day challenge bit) and Ryan Carson (no email first thing bit), I’m going to try this out for the next month.

I tried out a gratitude list for 30 days a couple of months ago and found it really useful. I definitely feel it’s easier to focus on the positives, and although it’s not quite a habit, I do spend time thinking about all the good things that happened during the day, or the previous day. I think part of my difficulty in making it a habit was that I was writing them down, and introducing a physical habit is probably harder than a mental one.

So, instead I’m going to make a bit of effort building a mental habit, which leads me nicely onto my new challenge: not checking my email first thing. I watched this video by Ryan Carson and the idea of spending a little time first thing every morning focussing on what’s really important to you sounds like a great idea.

Like many other smartphone owners, as soon as I wake up I turn on my phone and immediately get notifications of new emails, Twitter interactions, Facebook updates etc. As a result, virtually the first thing I do every morning is check my email. Within 3 minutes of waking up, I’m immersing myself into a state of mind that persists all day – I’m connected, I’m switched on, I’m burdened by whatever is happening at work. I start expending mental cycles thinking about what’s happened, what I’m doing, what I haven’t done yet, what I need to do etc.

So, instead, I’m going to not check my email first thing and I’m going to spend those few minutes every morning thinking about what I’m grateful for the previous day and what and who is important to me in life.

I’m not sure yet what difference this will make, but it feels like a good idea to try, and hence the 30 day challenge seems like a good idea.

As a side note, I’ve just had an idea that there’s probably and Android app out there to control when automatic sync is turned on – might be useful to have it not sync my emails until say 9am each morning so that I don’t get tempted by notifications every morning.

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