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Time away from work and school has given us all a golden opportunity to reflect on the way we do things. I’ve had some reflection time myself. As the Wellbeing Lead at my school, I often end up in discussions around wellbeing (my favourite topic of course!) One recurring item of casual feedback I often get from staff members is around a sense of email overload which impacts on their wellbeing and work-life balance.  An email in itself doesn’t cause the problem. I think we all have good intentions with each email we send. However, it is the cumulative effect of seeing many emails needing our attention that can feel overwhelming. As a response, here are three points for consideration in regards to email and your personal wellbeing.

These are food for thought as we return to a new normal. These are not rules, but simply ideas for us to consider for our own wellbeing and that of our colleagues. I am not perfect and am working on these myself.

Do you have your emails on your personal device? 

Consider manually loading emails so they don’t interrupt your evenings and weekends.

I recently attended a talk by Hugh Van Cuylenberg, author of The Resilience Project. Absolutely fascinating. I recommend his book. One comment he made really stood out to me: “since when do notification alerts get to decide when we check your email/phone”? 

It is possible to change the settings on our devices to manually load emails. Then we simply pull down the email menu on your device and let it load when it suits us. 

You might decide to have an email “hour of power” once per day or check once per hour.

What’s in it for you? 

You get to decide, not your device 🙂

Consider taking advantage of the ‘schedule’ button for emails written on evenings/weekends.

You have the right to decide when you work. It could be worthwhile to consider using the schedule button so your email goes out first thing the next working day (click the arrow next to the send button). 

What’s in it for you? 

Having an email culture that limits email expectations to normal work hours as much as possible is a great boost for everyone’s wellbeing. 

Consider if it needs to be a “reply all”

It takes a small but repeated amount of time to read and mentally sort emails that don’t relate to us personally.

What’s in it for you? 

Hopefully less inbox fatigue 🙂

These are just some ideas, either use them or don’t – we create the work culture we are a part of 🙂