I have had to learn to control my email checking habits. It took a long time, because the anxiety of possibly missing something was too much for a long time. Then I realized that I am not responsible for someone who emails at 4:55pm on a Friday asking for an answer by Monday at 9am. I am also not responsible for someone who emails me on Saturday or Sunday, either.
My weekends are for my family and for me. If I wanted to work on the weekends, I would have negotiated that into my pay and I would have not become a father.
If you’re emailing me on Friday in the late afternoon, Saturday, or Sunday and expecting an answer before Monday at 11am, you’re going to have a bad time. If it’s that much of an emergency, call me. If you don’t have my number and can’t find it, then I’ll get back to you on Monday.
Also, you need to know that my phone doesn’t ring or vibrate because I am not a slave to my phone. Yeah, I play games on it or check Facebook, but I choose when that happens. Not the other way around. If you call and you find my voicemail, I am not avoiding you. I am avoiding everyone. There’s something else going on, like work, or hanging out with my wife and baby. I’ll get back to you.
What are the repercussions?
Well, on Monday I usually get messages or texts or more emails asking me if I saw this or that email. My response is, “I haven’t checked my emails yet, but I will, and I will respond accordingly.” This is a hard line and people don’t always like it. Guess what, they’re not the boss of me. I am not saying this to be rude or inconsiderate to other people. I am saying this, because I have to control my surroundings, my inputs, the things that pull on me, and the signal vs. noise. If I don’t my heart starts racing, my brain stops working, my stomach gets in knots, and I can’t breathe. It’s like drowning and it’s not fun.
This process is not for everyone and frankly, it’s a bit new to me. However, it is working for me and it’s helping me to be more organized, more focused, and less drown-y. Which is the best for me, right now.
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