The time has come for another Email Intervention!
If you are new to MML you can catch up on my epiphany about why I didn’t really like my job (even though it’s awesome) and why email is a privilege. I strongly believe that the decision to not check email on nights and weekends has been an incredible life changing decision for myself. I believe it is the biggest way that I’ve designed my work/life balance with intention in recent years as well.
At first I thought it was impossible to go without checking email and even somehow “wrong.” But my experience over the past four months has told me quite the opposite.
Now that I limit my email to workdays I have more energy, look forward to work each morning, and am insanely more present in my personal life. I have (sort of) learned to play the guitar, sometimes get bored on weekend afternoons (which is fantastic, it gives me the chance to really look forward to work), and I don’t have the urge to check email at a restaurant table while my friend is in the bathroom.
Since doing the monthly two-week Email Interventions on MML, I’ve gotten some great feedback from other MML readers as well about their own experience:
“To get more accomplished and check email, I found myself waking up earlier, eager to see what had arrived the night before. My body clock is shifting, and that’s probably a good thing.
My favorite moment in the whole challenge: my non-smart-phone husband and I went on a date and he suggested leaving our phones at home. Normally, I would have said no. But the email challenge helped me say yes! I loved that, even for our quick dinner, we had each others’ full attention.”
“Throughout the two week intervention I sometimes found myself opening my work email and beginning to log in. It was so weird because I didn’t even think about it. Suddenly my brain would start thinking about work and suddenly I was opening up my email. Because of your intervention though I would catch myself rather than allowing myself to become absorbed by my job at all hours of the night. So there I would sit, staring at the log in page and asking myself, “why?”.
Why did I feel a sudden need to check my work email…
- Was I hoping to get something done? Not really.
- Was I looking to fill the time with something random? Yes, sometimes it was nice to have something to do rather than fill that time with something meaningful for me.
- Was it necessary? Not at all.
- Did it cause problems? Actually, yes it did. My boyfriend repeatedly mentioned that I checked my work email too often and I noticed that even though I would plan on just “seeing what was in there” I found myself responding to emails and working on projects for 30, 40, 50 minutes and suddenly I was working and worried about projects and deadlines and everything else.
Essentially, this bad habit was taking away from my personal time, and you know what? My manager wasn’t demanding or even asking me to check my email every night.”
And if none of those motivations strike a chord, maybe Jon Acuff’s out of control inbox does.
Take the Email Intervention Two Week Pledge
For any or all of these reasons above, I hope that you will join me on a two week fast from email on nights and weekends between October 24th and November 7th. You can alter the Intervention slightly for your own personal reasons or even use the Intervention for sites like Facebook instead if that is something you struggle with taming. I just urge you to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and really re-engage with life outside your computer or smart phone.
And if you’ve already taken the pledge before, feel free to comment and do it again!
To be included on the intervention, please comment on this post before Friday, October 21st. I will be sending out four emails during the two weeks with tips and insights regarding the Intervention.
(And it’s all totally free, I see this as my Public Service Announcement.)
I hope you join and send this post to friends, family, or co-workers who might also be interested in breaking the email addiction!