Freedom via Gmail on Android

Depending upon who you talk to, our ability to check email on our phones anytime and anywhere is either a blessing or a curse. I think most people see someone they know – a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker – glued to their phone at all hours of the day, constantly receiving push notifications for every email that comes through, and then jumps to the broad conclusion that always being connected to the inbox is pure hell.

To that I say: they are doing it wrong. With every new technology we’re responsible to figure out the best way to use it to augment our lives. Email, and email on an ever-connected smartphone, is no different.

I view the Gmail app on my phone as a liberating technology. On nights and weekends when I consider myself “off of work”, I used to occasionally check emails on my computer, which typically involves going into my office, booting up my computer, turning on my monitors, etc. Now I just open up an app on my phone to check to see if anything is important. If there is, I snag my Chromebook or my laptop and take care of it. If there’s not, which is usually the case, I continue doing what I’m doing with much less of an interruption.

The keys to making this work: disabling email notifications and having the discipline to check only when I normally would go to my computer.

For years I resisted ever checking email on my phone because I didn’t want to be working even more. Now that it enables me to work even less, I’m loving it.

2 comments on Freedom via Gmail on Android

  1. Rob says:

    Do you make a distinction between work devices and personal devices? If not, do you have separate work and personal profiles/logins on each device?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Good question. I just have one phone. I use my personal Gmail as the default profile on the phone, but also have my work Google Apps account on the phone syncing my work email, docs, and calendar in the background. I make sure to keep the Gmail app on my personal account any time I check it. If I’m checking for work, I switch back before exiting so that way I don’t accidentally open it up looking for a personal email and then stumble upon a work email. Seems to be a good solution for anyone on Android that uses Gmail and Google Apps.

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