Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective

Arrow-Tip #40 Is Your Smart Phone a Leash?

While most of my clients use a Blackberry or some other form of smart phone, there are a few hold outs that express concern over their cell phone becoming a leash. These folks are worried that if they have a mobile device that receives email, their clients will expect immediate answers to emails at all times. If you fall in this camp, read on to find out how your smart phone should be a liberating device, not a ball and chain!

Ever been in a situation where you are expecting an email to come in at any time that you know requires an immediate response? When was the last time you chose not to take off early on a Friday or to go to a networking luncheon because you felt compelled to wait for that email or phone call from a client? Folks, this situation is precisely what smart phones are meant to prevent. If you know that you can go wherever you want and that email or phone call will come to you, then you are free from your office and can now multi-task much more effectively.

However, all too often many of us take it too far and feel compelled to answer every email that flashes across our mobile Inbox (they’re called Crackberries for a reason). Now your Crackberry has become a leash because you feel compelled to stop what you are doing no matter where you are (often on a weekend or evening during “family” time) and answer that email. And worse yet, you feel this action is expected by your clients and colleagues because they know you have a smart phone and can see their email.

There is a very simple solution for the Crackberry blues and it is called discipline. If clients and colleagues have come to expect immediate answers to non critical emails and phone calls it is because you have trained them to do so. All you have to do to resolve this situation is stop answering those non critical emails and phone calls and the problem will go away. Yes, you might get the occasional question about why you didn’t pick up the phone or answer an email, but all you have to do is remind the questioner that you are not always available to respond – especially during off hours. Believe it or not it is that simple!

So go on and get that cool new iphone or Blackberry Storm – just remember that a little self discipline will set you free!

This post was written by MistyKhan and published on January 11, 2009 in the following categories: Arrow Tips, Front Page, Inbox, Tasks. You can leave trackbacks on this post at this address. To follow the comments on this post subscribe to the RSS feed.


I used to be leashed to my smartphone as you put it when I had my Treo’s, I would be constantly monitoring the support inbo of the company I was working for at the time and addressing any emails as they came in. I thought this would improve my standing with the company and to an extent it did but only really to the extent of a pat on the back without any monetary benefit and the worse thing was it became expected of both me and other staff.

My advice is unless it is your official job to monitor emails out of hours or in circumstances like Misty mentioned above that you just don’t even look at your work email! To that extent I wish modern Smartphone email programs would catch up and offer features like in the old Palm program – ChatterEmail that allowed you to set times per day where your email would be active eg. 7am to 6pm Mon – Fri.

It is cool to be able to be connected 24/7 but it is not cool to be connected 24/7!

Great Comment, Jason! I was not aware of the ChatterEmail function – sounds really cool! Misty


You’re right, it takes discipline. You have to segregate your time and cut it off. That’s why I power my phone in my car overnight. As soon as I get home, it stays in the car. After 7 p.m., it (and whomever) can wait.

However, I have a friend who works for a public company and his CEO wants him available any time. That’s ANY time. Failure to answer a call or email–no matter what time–is subject to a “discussion” the following day. This CEO has bigger problems that just cutting in to his people’s personal time.

You’re right though, the bottom line for most of us is that we control our own habits.

Thanks, Mark, and love the idea of charging in your car over night! I feel for your friend though! I do find that situation is rare – people tend to think it is expected, but in the end they more likely just put that expectation on themselves. Misty


Nice post!

There are so many great things about a Smart Phone, a Blackberry aka Crackberry that anyone who gets one – within reason should have a better quality of life – why? You will be able to manage your e-mail, text and phone calls – I actually multi-task – while on a conference call – I can check my emails and text and send messages. By the end of the day – I can have a glass of wine with family, friends and relax – yeah – what a concept eh? Conversation with those you have personal relationships are key and everyone should be able to turn off their phone and have a relaxing evening.

I am sorry, what are thinking? You say your life is too busy to relax – well look at this way – if you are able to have a wonderful crazy life with family and friends – when your parents are in a nursing home and can’t remember anything – at least you will have stories to tell and you can laugh about it –

Don’t be afraid of the Crackberry -and think about this – those that hate or blame technology for their woos in life – it is not the technology that you blame, but it is the responsibility that you dislike or wished you didn’t have – so don’t shoot the messenger – LOL

Nice post – good advice – hopefully people will use it to their productivity – but not abuse the productivity – you still need people in our life -those that hug you, touch you, make you crazy and make you laugh – so just breathe.

Great comments – thanks so much for posting! Misty

  • JanSimpson
  • 03:53
  • January 12, 2009
  • 3.


I consider my BlackBerry to be a time-multiplier. I hate wasted time such as waiting in crawling traffic, grocery store lines, boring meetings, being on eternal hold, standing in line at the bank, riding in the car as a passenger. watching TV, etc.

It’s during times such as these that I read emails, respond to twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook connection requests. I also play games on my phone to pass time and relax.

So, I don’t consider my phone to be a leash because I don’t have to answer it when it rings. That’s why I have voicemail. I only answer calls that I’m expecting from clients or from my wife and kids. Others must go to voicemail. :-)

Maybe, I’m a BlackBerry addict, much as Obama happens to be. I keep that thing on the nightstand next to my bed and wouldn’t dare leave home without it… not because I don’t want to miss any phone calls, but because of all the stuff that I can do on it.

Okay, I’m a Crackberry Addict!


Hello. My name is Misty Khan and I’m a Crackberryoholic. 😉 I use mine the same way – I hate wasting time and the Blackberry is a great way to fill in the gaps while waiting in lines, for software to compile, etc. Thanks so much as always for the great commen, Jim!


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