There is a little, unpublicized feature on your phone called Do Not Disturb where you can block emails coming into you during specific intervals or ad-hoc.

I never knew about it until my daughter started to use it because her phone would keep dinging all night long.

Now I use it between 10pm and 6am.

This doesn’t mean I don’t get the message, I do and sometimes, by force of a horrible habit, I check it before I go to bed.

And this is where things can go terribly wrong…

I might have already had a stressful day and before it’s even started, tomorrow just became worse.  I might have done a ton of work to finish a project, only now to realize that the project is being cancelled.  We might have lost a customer after working so hard on that RFP.

The list goes on and on.

Although we are all first to say – “Not a problem this doesn’t bother me, I’m good to go, let’s handle it” – it does something to our bodies and our sleep. We keep working when we should be resting – even though phsyically we are resting – the mind is still racing.

Or even worse, that time when we receive the email at 12am, when we are already at the very end of the day (or start of a new one) we choose to respond.

Responding to an email between those hours when you should be sleeping/resting is a recipe for disaster – you’re off-kilter, you haven’t thought it through, it’s a quick send, etc.  When you read it the next morning you’ll think it came from someone else. You were rude, short, abrasive, etc, etc. Now the apologies come for having sent the email and the damage you done, the follow-up explanations (what I meant to say was or let me rephrase it) or even the meetings to discuss the email, etc, etc.

Or it doesn’t have to happen at all, you could merely wait till the morning to respond to that email and all will still be fine, but with less collateral around the email itself.

Put your phone in Do Not Disturb, rest (sleep or whatever) and leave it till the morning – it will still be there when you get up.

Want more? Check out my book Code Your Way Up – available as an eBook or Paperback on Amazon (CAN and US).  I’m also the co-host of the Remotely Prepared podcast.


1 Comment

  1. I think refraining from replying to emails right away helps us avoid being reactionary and allows us time to think about what the writer is trying to actually say. I’ve responded to emails quickly and with hard keyboard strokes only to have to apologize later on. I really like this piece of advice.

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