Why I Turned My Email Notifications Off

6:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

During the fall of the 2017-2018 school year, I made a change that has changed my life. Our summer of 2017 was very short due to getting out of school late in June and receiving a waiver from the state to start early in August before Labor Day. (Post Labor Day start is required by law in the state of Michigan without a waiver). I did not actually feel like I had much of a summer vacation between the shortened time and the number of conferences and conventions that I attended.

Overall, I thought I emotionally and work-load-wise be okay; in reality, I far from okay as the year went on, and that year ended up leading to my job change this past summer.  The amount of work and stress this summer that amounted to very little time truly off from school.  I could really have used a true unplug from work.  In addition, our seven-period day with my five different preps was sure to make for a doozy of a year. Now, I did not mind the seven periods or the five preps, but the combination of the two together was a lot.  I had taught all but one class before, but when a coworker and I asked to switch two classes to reduce both the number of preps for each of us; this request was met with a resounding no. Since our school moved to Gmail several years ago, I had my school email tied to my cell phone.  I would often be sitting at home at night scrolling through Instagram when a notification would pop up from either a parent, a student, or the superintendent. (My principal did not work at night and if there ever was an emergency, he had my cell phone number.)  This would always immediately interrupt my downtime or my personal projects at home.

There is no real reason that turning my phone email notifications off took me so many years.  The notifications were automatically turned on when I added the Gmail account to my phone, but I should have gone in and turned them off immediately.  I don’t believe that answering every email at the time it comes through is necessary. The first few weeks after I turned the notifications off, I chose to check my email regularly.  However, as time progressed, I was clicking over to it less and less.  It took some time for that conditioning that was created over several years of political, parents, and staff drama to wear off. Now, when I started my current job and added my new school email to my phone, I clicked right into the settings in the Gmail app to turn off the notifications.  We recently had a whole week off from school and it took four days before I realized I hadn’t checked my email and probably should.
I want you to take three minutes right now and turn your work email notifications off on your phone.  You will thank me.


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