How turning my ringer off, put the power back in my hands.
As a business owner, the cell phone is a fantastic tool. I can check emails, message clients, view my schedule online in real time and book appointments, even when I’m out of the office. While in treatment, I use an old phone as a clock and to stream my music. My current massage playlist is over 50 hours long and since so many people ask, you can view it here on Spotify.
While I love the cell phone, I also hate it.
Due to the nature of massage, I am typically unable to answer messages immediately. In theory I could deal with the phone between treatments, but other tasks I need to accomplish include: wash my hands, wash the cups, change the linens, spray/clean the table, take payment, reschedule appointments, deal with laundry, possibly eat food and/or go to the washroom, and maybe look at the phone messages. While the above is in no particular order, checking the phone messages is my last priority.
We have an automated online booking system that allows people to book, modify, and check their account online - it’s like a digital receptionist and I love it. I will glance at the phone and if I don’t see anything that needs immediate attention, I’ll wait to respond either at lunch or at the end of my day.
But people aren’t used to waiting anymore. Most people have their phones by their sides 24/7 and when it buzzes, they answer.
Since starting up my own business in January, and then partnering up and opening a clinic in June, I’ve had to do a lot of work with my phone, much more than I did previously. This is a huge change for me. For reference, I often don’t even bring my phone out with me on errands, or when going out with friends because I believe in being present and showing up fully with whatever task is at hand. During my working hours I started putting my phone on silent because of all the additional notifications and would turn the sound back on at the end of my day.
Except a few weeks ago I kept forgetting to turn the sound on at night for about a week, a week with no sound notifications or vibrating period. When I turned the volume on and the first few notifications chimed, I realized that it was giving me anxiety. I had this panicked sense that I had to answer it right then because it was expected of me and I was being told to do so.
I realized that when the sound had been off, I would check when I wanted, and when it was convenient for me. I took back the control over my precious time.
I can assure you that picking up my phone to check the email from a Big-box store telling me “Everything 40% off - no exceptions” the exact moment that I received it, is not a priority to me. I’m going to hazard a guess it isn’t to you either.
What would happen if you turned your ringer off and only checked your phone when you wanted to? What about only twice an hour? Once an hour? Only on breaks, lunches and at the end of your day? Would it be the worst thing if someone had to wait an extra 20-90 minutes to hear from you?
Here’s the beauty of it all, you and I don’t have to agree on this, and that’s okay. If you know that you can’t be without your phone for any length of time, feel free to check it at every buzz. If you’ve never tried having your phone on silent, give it a shot and try checking it sporadically on your terms. You may be like me and realize it was causing you unnecessary stress, and nobody needs that in their life.
And now I’m going to grab my phone, turn on some good music, and do some yoga.