This weekend I did something I haven’t done in many years. I took my emails off my blackberry. That’s right; I have no emails on my cell phone.
I’ve wanted to see if I could do this for a long time. I’ve given myself a goal of trying to do it before, like a 30 day challenge or something, but the start day would come and I would come up with some new excuse to not do it.
Saturday night I found myself having dinner out at a nice Italian restaurant with my son sitting on my lap playing with his food, cooing, pointing and just enjoying life. It was a great night out with my wife and son. I found myself continually fighting the urge to tip my son up far enough off my lap so I could get to my blackberry in my pocket to check my emails. I considered this a new low in my journey of work and personal balance.
Every entrepreneur longs for that perfect work and personal life balance. I think for most it’s what drives you more than “Measurable success.” We all have the pipe dream of not having to work that hard and have a business that can run itself if you want to take a week off on the spur of the moment. Its way more meaningful to me to come into the office and see: happy employees working away, gibber-jabbering with each other, and still taking care of clients to keep a business running without me being there than having some insane amount of new client signups in a day.
At some point we can all become too connected to our businesses and destroy our personal lives. When you’re the top dog in your organization, your entire crew looks to you. The entire mood of the company is reliant on your mood. The same goes for your family. Work has to be work, and your home life has to be home life. If you forget to take care of your personal life it will eventually spill into your ability to effectively manage the people that work with and for you.
I’ve noticed my ability to manage our organization start to fade because of overworking and over-connection. When you overwork, you’re not fresh, alert, and responsive. It’s hard to have the best judgment when you quit working the night before at 3 AM. I noticed one of our staff giving clients shorter than normal email responses and complaining about answering the same questions. At first I thought I needed to have a serious talk with her, but ultimately she was probably taking the lead from me. You can’t command your staff to create a company-wide vibe that goes to every length possible to take care of your clients. You can’t hold a meeting and outline 10 things that make great customer service attainable. It’s only truly attained by the vibe and morale of the entire organization being positive. If you as the owner/manager of your company lack balance in your personal life it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to start bringing that imbalance to work.
So this weekend, I unhitched myself from my blackberry. I already don’t text, but I called my cell phone company and set up a block on texting to make sure I don’t fall into that trap. When I deleted the accounts from the phone there were 37,239 unread emails. I don’t even want to know how many there were total. It actually took hours for the phone to delete them all. It crashed over and over and over again. Let me tell you, when they were finally gone, it was amazing! I hope I don’t start smoking with the lack of something to fumble with and look at all the time. My hope is to start living a better personal life and managing a better work life. Hopefully everyone who works in our organization and our clients will have an overall day in and day out better experience with our company because of this new commitment.
So here’s to 2012 without email on my blackberry.