Happy Monday! Today, I’d like to discuss the matter of EMAIL.
At the start of this school year, I made the conscious decision to remove my work email from my phone. I had tried to make this happen in previous years, but would always end up pressing “add account” within a couple of days and adding my work email once again. So for the vast majority of the time up until this year, I have had both my personal and work email accounts synced with my phone, and consequently have been plugged into work during all waking hours. Checking my email was often the first thing I did upon waking up and the last thing I did before closing my eyes at night. I felt the desire to always know what was going on in my work world. I’m sure many can relate. Maybe a parent was going to email about a question on the homework! Or perhaps I’ll receive an email changing the time or location of a meeting the next day! I wanted to know everything that was going on and I wanted to know it now.
But an incident at the start of this year made me seriously reconsider this need to be constantly plugged in. I was having dinner with my sister when I casually checked my email on my phone. A particular email caught my eye and my mind immediately started racing with exactly how to respond. The hamster wheel that is my brain started going and I was off. I became completely mentally preoccupied and was no longer in the present moment. And for whatever reason, this one event made me take notice. I was not letting my personal time be true personal time if I was checking my email routinely on my phone. I was liable to be mentally whisked away at any moment. And as someone who is working on staying in the moment and being more present, this did not coincide with my wellness goals one bit.
I had also recently read an article about companies and organizations in France who are trying something new. They are utilizing software that essentially locks their employees out of their email accounts during certain hours of the evening/night to ensure that they experience true personal time. France was considering actual legislation that would ban workers from accessing emails during nights and weekends in the effort to reduce the amount of work stress and burn-out seen in employees.
So I started the school year with a plan. I would remove my school email from my phone making it so that the only time I saw my emails would be when I was ready and willing to do so. I committed to the following “schedule” if you will:
*Check my email before leaving the house in the morning
*Access emails throughout the day at school
*Check my email once in the early evening, maybe around 5:00-6:00pm (if I’m not still at school)
*Check my email one last time later in the evening, around 8:00-9:00pm
That’s it. Logged out. Done for the night.
I have stuck to this schedule pretty consistently for the past two months and I’m happy to say this plan has worked wonderfully! I have not missed anything important – I really haven’t! I am still plugged in, but in a more balanced and intentional way. And furthermore, I am giving my brain some “off time” before bed. As someone who has struggled with insomnia in the past, I now know that I need some serious mental relaxation for at least one hour before bed if I’m going to have any chance of falling asleep quickly. I simply cannot go from writing an email to sound asleep at the snap of a finger.
Some might think that my email schedule is still too much. Still others might continue to cringe at the idea of removing their work emails from their phones. And that’s ok. Each person has to find a system that works for them. But I can confidently say that this has been one of the best choices I’ve made this year to enhance my sleep quality, lower my stress levels, and support my overall wellness.
Thank you for reading!
Have a wonderful week and be well, everyone!