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Why Leaders Should Remove Email from Their Phones

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

It sounds crazy but this could be the best thing you'll do for yourself in 2023. Your productivity, team, spouse, children, friends, and mental health will thank you.

The idea of removing e-mail from your phone undoubtedly conjures up feelings of fear and anxiety for most of us. How will I be reached? Won't my boss get upset? Will I lose my clients? Am I going to get fired for this? Given these questions, it's an idea most of us wouldn't even consider, much less even think of in the first place.


Why remove email from your phone?

There are numerous reasons why us leaders should do this starting today. Here's three that should prompt you to at least try this.


How can I possibly do this?

Before you click the back button and say "there's no way", think about how you can:

  • Schedule Your E-mail at Set Times - While limiting yourself to 4-5 times might seem extreme, take a visual look which is much less scary:

9 AM | 11 AM | 1 PM | 3 PM | 4:30 PM

  • Only Check Email at Your Desk - Chances are you will at your desk at least a few times each day making this quite easy. A multi-site manager? Limit email to your laptop and check prior to leaving a location.


But what about emergencies, my boss, or that important client?

Here's where most of the "excuses" come in. Let's address each one:

  • Emergencies - Chances are if it's truly an emergency, someone will call you, text you, or come find you. Not so sure? Think about the last time you were notified of a true emergency via email.

  • The Boss - Expected to respond at a moment's notice? If this is truly the case, there are a number of ways to still receive these VIP emails without being sucked into the black hole that email is. If this applies to you, see our article, Setting Up VIP Alerts. Before you do that, consider a conversation with him or her and ask permission to only check your email. Need help selling it? Share these stats or simply explain how you are trying to improve retention through more meaningful interactions with your team. Retention is a big problem and more time on email isn't going to solve it.

  • Important Clients - Take a similar approach to the one with your boss. VIP alerts are a good way to ensure you are responsive. A conversation works here too - Explain that you are dedicated to improving care or focusing on a particular project and therefore only checking email intermittently throughout the day. Most clients will be more than happy to wait an extra 60-90 minutes. Ask them to call with any emergencies (which they likely do already) and you'll stay in their good graces.

  • I Still Neet to Send Emails - There are a number of methods that still allow us to send an email without getting sucked into reading them. See our article, Sending Email Without Checking It.


Do I really need to delete my email app?

Not necessarily. Here are some methods that allow you to try the idea without any long-term commitments.

Hide Your Mail App

  • Risk Level: Low

  • Annoyance Level: Low

  • How to do it: Put your email app in a folder on page 3 of your apps.

  • Benefit: This option will slow you down enough to stop yourself from checking email out of habit. Already do this and back in the habit? Move the app again.

Set Time Limits

  • Risk Level: Low

  • Annoyance Level: Moderate

  • How to do it: Set a "Focus", "Downtime" or "Limit" on your phone to limit your email app use.

  • Benefit: By giving yourself a time limit, you are shut out from using your email after a period of time which is a great reminder that you might be using email too much. Downtime and Focus options help limit when you are checking email and can provide better work/life balance. After all, most emergencies necessitate a phone call.

  • What to do in an emergency: Bypass with the passcode and check your mail anyways.

Turn Off Email in your Settings

  • Risk Level: Low

  • Annoyance Level: Moderate

  • How to do it: Under your phone's settings, click mail, then accounts, and turn off mail.

  • Benefit: If you do click your mail app out of habit, there will be nothing for you to read.

  • What to do in an emergency: Go into your settings and turn your mail back on. That simple.

Delete the App

  • Risk Level: Moderate

  • Annoyance Level: High

  • How to do it: Full out delete the app.

  • Benefit: Email is no longer readily available

  • What to do in an emergency: Reinstall the app or, better yet, use your phone's browser to log into your web mail account. Sound inconvenient? Of course it is. That's the point.


Need Some Help Getting Started?

Still too scary?

Start simple: Try one of the more difficult options for an hour or on a day off. From there challenge yourself and try this again.

Not tech savvy?

Schedule a session with one of Elevatial's expert coaches.

Need an accountability partner?

Sign up with one today.

Let us know as you try this idea in the new year. We'd love to hear what you've done so far.

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