The day I got my iPhone was a blessing and a curse, all wrapped into one sleek package.
This was January 2010, so I was a little late to the game. But my refurbished 3GS made me a believer almost right off the bat — immediate access to social media, email, and games? Sold.
It also made me an addict.
Always, always on. I got the phone for work, so the many times I got busted using it at inappropriate times, I could simply say I had to check email. But in reality, email is the gateway drug: You check that, then you think maybe Twitter has an update, and of course Facebook is just a tap away . . .
A couple of years of annoying myself and others who wonder why I was always heads down. But that constantly updated number hovering over the email icon was intriguing and enticing and sexy — who’s writing me now? This could be urgent! How could I turn away?
Skip forward to a few weeks ago. Turns out I was also fighting a daily battle against my battery — it was all but used up by the end of the work day due to constant checking, heavy use during commutes, and working in a signal-challenged city.
But then I found this article on saving battery life. Tip #4 was the eye-opener — to have an always-on email push would certainly be a drain on my battery. And besides, I spend 5/7 of my week at the office, where my laptop already tells me how far behind I’m getting on email. I changed over to manually fetch email.
If I recall correctly, that’s when a light shone down from the heavens.
First of all, it worked, and battery performance is remarkably better. But as importantly, this also means my email icon won’t update to show me how many new emails are waiting. And without that reminder that I’m always needed, I’m not constantly checking it.
Instead, I’m spending time with my family, or reading, or living life. When I know I have a few minutes, I can open the email app, which will update with new email, and I can respond to them on my terms.
Seems a little silly to feel like I’ve won a battle over my phone. But hey, it’s a smart phone. And while there are exceptions, there are many fewer weeknight interruptions when I’m playing with my kids or talking with my wife. Big win.
The change didn’t just make a dramatic impact on my battery life; it made an impact on MY life.