Not another email!!


During the day things can be hectic and busy which leads to a focus on getting the things done in school that need doing and leaving some other things until later.    One of these things can be communication and in particular email communication.    In addition to this we quite often identify things we have forgotten to deal with or come up with great ideas when we are relaxed and no longer in work mode, as normally happens at the end of the day or on weekends.    This again quite often involves email and sending out last minute reminders or requests, and on sending out proposals or posing questions all via email.    Through this we can see large volumes of email being sent at hours outside what would normally be considered normal working hours.

If you are anything like me, when your phone or tablet bleeps to inform you a new message has arrived we invariably look at it.   This is independent of whether this happens during the school day or outside the school day.   The reaction could be described as learned behavior.       Having read the message you will then react to it with some reactions being positive and others not so positive.   This can then colour and impact on your time, which technically should be non-work time.   Recently I found myself not sleeping very well having read a particularly troubling email sent to me late into the evening.   I am convinced the reason for my inability to sleep being that my mind was running both consciously and subconsciously through the issue in hand and all the possible actions which could be taken to resolve things.   All this meant was that I did not enjoy the time I had available to me outside work and I arrived at work more tired than normal the following day albeit with a more detailed picture of my possible options in relation to the issue at hand.

We can try to address this through self control and choosing not to look at messages however after your phone has bleeped five times in an evening I would challenge most people to have ignored the phone.

I am conscious of the ever creeping of work into my home life so have been trying to do something about it.   I cannot control what and when others send me email however I can control my actions and hope that by doing so it will encourage others.

My current approach is to write my emails in the evening and on the weekend when I need to but to save them to draft rather than sending them.   I then send them in the morning of the next working day.   I do note, however, that were issues are emergencies, and by description this should be few and far between, I do engage in emailing out outside of working hours.

How do you manage email?


Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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