The Time I Stopped Answering Email

quitting email | new faculty

i made this meme 🙂

Miraculous thing that email is eh?

This one time, when I realized that my smartphone and my email were using me, I quit.

I quit email.

I quit notifications.

I quit noises.

I quit chat icon thingys.

I quit it all.

And it never felt so good.

I didn’t smash my iphone, but I sure as hell stopped letting it control my life. It goes into ‘paperweight’ mode more and more and I kind of like it.

Circa 2007 I got my first smartphone–a blackberry Pearl. It was all down hill after that.

My love affair started out as most do: fast and furious. It was mutual infatuation with a hint of neuroses. We were soul mates.

I can clearly see now why my ex-husband would have been annoyed. Clearly.

Over the last year though, i’ve made a conscious effort to reel my technology use in. Not only was it out of necessity, but it was also out of choice. I’ve been a smartphone junkie since 2007 and was totally unprepared for the plethora of noises, pop-up’s, notifications, and other assorted ways it could intrude on your life. As the new updates roll out, I’m already googling how to get rid of the new annoyances that will come when I download and install.

On the flip side, I also appreciate it for its’ ability to stop everything and leave me alone with some modifications. The first thing I did:

  • stopped pushing email
  • set the privacy functions from 11 p.m.-7 a.m.-mandatory every day.
  • turn the ringer off-no vibrate-for hours at a time, especially when i’m (trying) to write
  • don’t answer texts/calls on purpose (self proclaimed call screener extraordinare right here)
  • stopped ALL notifications except calls and texts

WHY? so the device wasn’t using me, I was using it. I log on when I want. I check when I want. I engage when I’m ready.

Then, I went radical. I didn’t answer a single email all weekend. It was amazing. I did it again just to validate my results.

And for all of you who have already caught on….

I drank the kool-aid, how come no one told me about this sooner??

I’m going to repeat my experiment for many weeks to come to validate my scientific research. I’m pretty sure we all know the results.

Try it out with me!

All jokes aside, by setting my own boundaries and NOT answering email on the weekend, it helped me do a few things:

  • enjoy myself and whatever I was doing
  • set my own boundary
  • feel better for Monday when I could go through them and start answering
  • yes, i still make a list in Evernote sometime Sunday evening just to make sure I’m ready for Monday

How do you manage your email?

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