The Mindful Entrepreneur
About a year ago, I was on a park bench with my 3-year old daughter. We had spent much of the day playing on the swings, building sand castles and enjoying the beautiful day. During breaks, I had my Blackberry in one hand and my iPhone in the other. I was moving through e-mails like a pro, dealing with work problems, planning social activities and checking the news. I was proud of myself. There I was the perfect father and entrepreneur, attending to the needs of my business and family. I thought I had it all figured out!
As my phones continued to buzz, however, I began to think about all of the times work got in the way of my family time. The fires that needed to be put out, the emergency calls, the late evenings— it turns out what I was really doing was putting urgent e-mail answering above important things like fully living my life. Being readily available by e-mail was preventing me from becoming the best father, and balanced entrepreneur, I could be. As for my daughter, she knew about mobile phones and would often use the TV remote control as a pretend phone. Her memories of me growing up were those of man and mobile.
Knowing this, I decided to get rid of my mobile e-mail and improve my focus on the bigger parts of my life. This was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I have been free from mobile e-mail for 15 months, and now I only spend 30-60 minutes a day on regular e-mail when I’m at work. I am now physically and mentally present when I am with people, and I also get to focus on what’s important to me, like adventures with my daughter. More importantly, years from now my headstone won’t read: “R.I.P. Conor Neill. Good guy. Always responded to e-mail in less than 30 minutes.”