Pheil: The smartphone does not have to be an extension of the hand |

Pheil: The smartphone does not have to be an extension of the hand

Online tool of the week: AwayFind

A dear friend recently flew out from San Francisco to spend some time mountain biking with me. We almost had a great time on many of the local trails.

I say almost because we were never able to ride a nice long section of trail without interruption, as I quickly discovered he felt the need to compulsively stop and pull out his phone … every … single … time he heard the “pongggg” sound notifying him a new email had arrived in his inbox.

When I asked what would happen if he went a few hours, or a couple hours, or even just one hour without checking his email, he replied, “I suppose I could, but what if there’s an emergency? In my industry we deal with lawsuits and urgent matters day in and day out, and a delayed email reply could potentially cost my company tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

When I asked him how often the truly urgent emails — requiring instant replies — actually showed up in his inbox, he admitted he only received these types a couple times a year.

I felt sorry for my friend. I saw a man chained to his inbox, unable to enjoy a vacation or a single mountain bike ride without having to interrupt his life multiple times an hour to constantly read whatever communications people happened to be sending him.

I suggested that, if he wanted to ever consider an alternative way of handling his attention and time, he look into

I wrote about last October. And in case you, too, suffer from email-checking compulsion when you’re out of your office, today I’m re-sharing with you what I wrote last fall:

October 2012 — Online Tool of the Week: AwayFind

Are you one of those slightly compulsive/workaholic types that checks his email every four minutes?

Do you justify your compulsive email checking with arguments like “Well, what if there’s an emergency!?” or “I could be missing something extremely important!”?

It might be time for you to meet AwayFind. AwayFind helps moves you (and your brain and your focus and your attention) far, far away from your inbox — while still allowing those incredibly urgent and important emails to find you.

In other words, AwayFind watches guard over your inbox so it can’t continue to suck your attention all day long. The program acts like an instant priority alert system, cutting through the clutter and instantly alerting you when there’s a legitimate reason for you to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to some of the information that’s come in.

This means you can keep track of emails related to upcoming meetings and appointment changes, emails from your boss, emails related to a particular proposal or deadline that’s coming up, and emails related to urgent issues that might need to be addressed immediately — all while not having your attention drained by non-urgent matters that don’t need to be dealt with now.

Standard pricing is $4.99/month for the personal plan, $14.99/month for the Pro plan, and $49.99/month for the Max plan. (Or choose their limited Free plan or extended Team plan).

Not sure if it’d be right for you? Just take AwayFind for a 30-day free trial spin.

Learn more at, or watch an overview video here:

Erin Pheil is the owner of TimeForCake Creative Media—the Web Strategy company voted #1 in Best of Summit. Visit the timeforcake website at or email Erin at

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