Stop Your Smartphone from Becoming an Electronic Leash

Stop Your Smartphone from Becoming an Electronic Leash

Range Govindan
Apr 13, 2012

Smartphones are inarguably handy tools of convenience, if not necessity for some, but they can quickly become an electronic leash. Especially true if you do a lot of work via smartphones, where the constant checking if incoming messages can equal mounting tasks, even when they are not slated for a shift. Workaholics beware, because it's easy to start working when you are going out with friends!

One of the main reasons we resisted the urge to get a smartphone was because we think that they can quickly become an electronic leash, which is something that happened to us in the past, and that we were trying to avoid.

1. Keep Work Apps Uninstalled: We resisted the urge to install any work-related apps, but we relented for Flipboard, which we use to read all of our feeds. We've found that checking up on our feeds on the go streamlines our daily writing tasks. However, we don't use it everyday and we like it because it allows us to go through our feeds very quickly, selectively starring important posts and articles needed for later.

2. Maintain Your Old Cell Phone: We got a new number when we got our smartphone, and kept our old cell phone active. This allows many work-related calls to be shunted to our old phone, which we check once or twice a day. It's enough for most of these issues. More important work-related calls were routed to our current phone.

3. Email: While we've installed the Gmail app onto our smartphone, we haven't used it because all of our work-related emails go into our Gmail addresses. Since we use Inbox Zero, there's actually no need to check our email on the go. Instead, we set up a personal email address on all of our iOS devices and use it to communicate with friends, family, and non-work related tasks. It makes checking our email on our smartphone actually fun. If you tend to receive important or urgent work-related emails, you can customize a specific label or filter in Gmail and have it forwarded to your personal mobile email. That allows you to still be reached if something goes drastically wrong at work.

4. Texting: One of the new trends in smartphone texting is to use second party apps, like Kik, Whatsapp, and Line, to text. The apps are cross-platform, allowing iPhones to sent text messages to Android and Windows Phones, and use 3G or WiFi to send texts without affecting the number of texts you've sent in a month. If you're using an iPhone, iMessage lets you do the same between iOS devices. If you need to IM or text with your work-colleagues, keep it restrained in one of these apps and shut it down once you're no longer at work. That keeps all unwanted work-related texts away from your smartphone, until you're ready to deal with them again the next day.

5. Flexibility: Even though we stick by this rules to keep our smartphone basically free from most work-related tasks, we still break them from time to time. It depends on what exactly you do for work and how necessary it is to be reachable at all times. Most of us don't need to be reached all of the time but it is fun to use a smartphone when you're going out, sharing photos, tweets, and check-ins within your online and offline social network.

Ways of Letting go of Your Electronic Leashes
Reasons to Log Off
Powering off Every Night
Living without a Cell Phone or Tablet
Getting to Inbox Zero

(Images: Flickr member MJ/TR licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Detsugu licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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