I realize I’m probably in the minority. Some might even say I’m behind the times. Others would just call me stubborn. And all of those are probably accurate. You see, I’m someone who refuses to have email access on my phone.
Don’t misunderstand – I love email and I use it daily for several functions. In addition to communicating, I absolutely love the calendar function. In fact, Yahoo calendar is where I keep a lot of the ideas for this blog – a sort of editorial calendar if you wish.
But I think it’s too easy for us to get overwhelmed by the constant barrage of technology that we’ve let in to our lives. And while I like technology, I’ve made a conscious choice to NOT be available to everyone every minute of every day. For me it’s a type of technology time out.
Your boss doesn’t need access to you 24/7
I’ll give you an example of how technology can intrude on our lives. Several years ago, a friend I’d taught with would complain about the emails being sent out by one of her bosses at all hours of the night. She’d tell me the times this person would send messages out to people and it was unbelievable. Generally the emails were not particularly important (reminders about deadlines, asking if anyone knew the answer to this or that, checklists, etc.) I’d fuss and fume with her at the audacity – how DARE he intrude into people’s time off. And I agreed. In fact, I used to tell her that there were only two things people should be doing in bed at that time of night, and that neither one involved answering email.
But here’s the thing. Each time someone would respond to one of these crazy hour emails, he was being reinforced. By clicking that “reply” button, he was being conditioned to believe that his behavior was not only acceptable, but expected. It was neither.
[bctt tweet=”There’s only 2 thing you should be doing in bed late at night and neither one involve email.” username=”@sasmerchant”]
Is constant connectivity a good thing?
You’re probably heard of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Too many of us are afraid that we’ll miss something important, that some critical detail will zoom by before we manage to catch it. And we’re afraid that we’ll suffer because of it. Especially when it comes to our jobs.
The truth is that we won’t.
Every one of this person’s emails would still be available the next morning to be acted upon at a more civilized hour during the work day. There was nothing life threatening or altering that needed to be acted upon during the late night hours. And you know what? It’s likely that when he started hitting the ‘send’ button late at night he didn’t really expect a reply. It’s very likely that he was just a night owl and was making use of a time when he was most productive.
Unfortunately, the problem is much too common. The constant worry about after-work demands and constant connectivity is a major cause of stress these days. While the boss might not actually expect employees to respond at all hours of the night, sometimes the company’s culture sets a different expectation. France has gone so far as to enact legislation encouraging larger companies to develop policies to curb this trend.
Wouldn’t it be great if American companies followed suit?
Disconnecting never killed anyone!
When it comes to my own emails, I do not want to hear that annoying pinging sound or have a message pop up telling me there’s something in my Inbox. Since I refused to have email on my own phone, I didn’t worry about the after-hours issues since you don’t tend to worry about things you’re unaware of.
And as far as personal email is concerned – most of what I get is spam anyway so why be bothered. And when that cherished message from a friend does come in I can read and respond at MY leisure, as I know my friend did as well.
I hear people talk about how intrusive their phones are. How they feel like they’re tethered to them and that sometimes they just want to throw the damn things away. I’ve got a cheaper solution – just turn some functions off. It’s that simple.
Try it for yourself. Go ahead – turn it off. Now breathe.
See, don’t you feel better?