Let's make one thing clear. You're not unique if you're a workaholic. Most of us work overtime, set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and obsess over our work 24/7. I feel like I need to say that because glorifying this way of life *without balance and self-care* is just wrong...
Part of what makes work so stressful is emails. When I get an email from a client with a cringe subject or some sentence that starts "I want to chat about some things", I go into full-blown panic mode.
Email is STRESSFUL. Whether it's your boss that writes you at 11pm because they're still working, that needy client that demands constant attention, or an onslaught of *threads* that you can't seem to navigate, it's all just overwhelming. And we get it, you want to go the extra mile, but is that what's best for you...indefinitely?
Inevitably, once you start, you can't stop. And thus, boundaries diminish, walls fall down, and work becomes all encompassing, negatively impacting your everyday life. Bad email habits are just straight up toxic.
And here's why:
Diminishes work-life balance
If you're constantly staring at your phone or computer, responding to emails, in a panic *of course*, when do you have time to relax? Life is meant to be enjoyed, even for us workaholics!
Responding to work emails 24/7 won't allow you space for a personal life. By being available after-hours, you take away from time you could be spending on self-care and your relationships.
And that's a BIG problem! Especially seeing as so many of us work from home. You never really go home after work. There's no space, no boundaries, no time for ourselves! It's a blurred line we need to recognize.
Can cause long-term anxiety
A flooded inbox can lead to some serious stress, which is why you should avoid checking your email first thing in the morning or right before bed. In fact, put your phone on silent or airplane mode. Actually...just stay away from screens when you're trying to wake up or go to sleep.
And of course, if an email is scary like the dreaded client giving their notice or boss reprimanding you email, it's almost impossible to hold back from opening it. Unpleasant emails have a negative effect on our productivity and self-esteem. So if you're about to go to sleep, it's just not the time. Wait til you get to work, when you're in a better mindset to deal with it. Let yourself get some zzz's or you're going to be grumpy!
Ultimately leads to burnout
When you are constantly available, your life feels out of control. Btw, that's probably the leading cause of burnout! If you're immediately responding everyday and night, people will expect you to always be that way. You will start to feel exhausted, because you never take a break.
We're not telling you to put off responding at work, or slack. We're just saying, take some time for yourself and your relationships! Take a shower, eat a snack, go for a walk. Besides, you'll be way less productive without a break. It's why corporations require them!
Tip For How To Cope
1. Stay organized
If your inbox is a hot mess, with 100+ emails you haven't checked and probably mostly spam... Clean. It. Out! Unsubscribe from emails you never open, flag important messages, and utilize folders...you know that part of gmail you totally forgot about? Delete your junk mail! Empty your trash.
Marie Condo it: What brings you joy and what can you get rid of?
2. Turn off notifications when you're off the clock
Set to do not disturb when you're not *in the office*. Heck, set an away message if you need to when you're really not working or (god forbid) on vacation.
Notifications increase stress because, just like an alarm-clock, they alert us. This puts us into full-blown pressure to respond immediately mode. It also sets the tone that you're available 24/7. And you're not!
3. Schedule check email sessions
The BEST tip I ever received was to intentionally set times throughout the day to check my email. Typically an hour in the morning, afternoon, and right before I stop working. You can take this time to respond, delete, save...whatever you want to do. It feels good to get through it all at once!
Set some boundaries!! The above tips can help you to break the habit. And hopefully, one you start to take on new, healthy habits, you'll feel better, sleep better, and be able to relax, and ENJOY YOUR LIFE <3