Building Better (Different) Habits

For years, ever since I was first required to be on call, I’ve made it a habit to check my email each  morning when I get up, seeing if there are problems to solve. Not a bad habit, could even call it diligent, since it’s not a good idea to wait until you walk in the door of the office to find out things are not as they should be.

Right now I’m not on call though. I do own a few things that have to run, but in practice if something goes wrong with them it’s nothing that can’t wait an hour. So rather than messages about a server failure, more often it’s just regular email. Sometimes exciting, more often run of the mill, occasionally irritating.

It’s that latter category that inspired me to stop checking my phone when I get up. I realized that the occasional irritating email/problem would get my day off to a bad start, and I didn’t always recover well from it. Instead, I go through my morning ritual and then do a quick glance at the world.

While I wish I didn’t let little things start my day wrong and maybe the next level of enlightenment will fix that, I think it makes sense to make the change I can easily make, right now. It’s a small thing, and it’s not been an easy habit to break/build, but I’m getting there.

Beyond that though, it’s a step toward better bucketing my time. I tend to be ‘always on’, and all of you with smart phones know how that goes. Email, SMS, Twitter, there are always demands for your attention, and I think it’s a bit addictive, almost craving the interruption and the interaction. We all need to power down once in a while (or more often), and this is my small start on that.

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