I used to be just like you. I was one of those guys who had to reply to every work related email as soon as it came in, or check every alert as soon as it arrived.
It didn't matter what time of day or night it was, if my phone vibrated or beeped, then I had to check it.
Then one night, I set my phone to automatically go to Do Not Disturb mode.
I was actually a little nervous about using this mode at first.
- What if I missed something important?
- What if something went down and nobody was around to fix it?
- What if... Just what if? so many what ifs
But I set Do Not Disturb on my phone, and to top it off, I turned my phone over so that the screen wouldn't even light up...
And I went to sleep...
And I woke up...
And my emails were waiting for me to answer.
My coworkers had sent messages but didn't expect me to reply before my scheduled start times.
Nothing had blown up while I was in Do Not Disturb mode.
And it felt good.
I've found personally that setting DND mode to activate on my phone from 8:30pm until 6:30am is the prime window, as I start work at 7am so this gives me time to get caught up.
This will vary from person to person, but those are the times that work best for me.
But I'm a solo freelancer I have no coworkers, only clients
But guess what? There are ways to make Do Not Disturb work for you even if you are a one person shop.
First, look at when your clients usually talk to you. Most clients won't talk to you in the middle of the night, or if they do, it's unimportant messages that can wait til the morning.
Second, when do you want your quiet time to start? 5pm? 8pm? 10? This is based on your office hours, make sure clients know that you have office hours and after Xpm, and you'll get to them as soon as you are in.
You could even take this a step further and set up auto-replies in your email system that during the hours of Xpm until Yam, you are away from the computer and will answer as soon as you are available.
Finally, give it a try, set a time to enable Do Not Disturb mode and sit back and relax, watch a movie, read a book, fly a drone, drink some tea (or coffee or beer), take a walk, but don't even think about your phone being on Do Not Disturb Mode.
I'm serious, do not even look at the phone the first night you put it on DND mode.
This is simple, and goes a long way to achieving your work / life balance. Even if for just those few hours you've set your phone to DND mode, you still get a few hours to focus on other stuff.
Now, when I do wake up at night, I don't even reach for my phone during DND hours. I leave it sitting face down on my dresser.
Try it, and let me know how using Do Not Disturb mode has worked for you.