Design Teaching

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 18 2012

I will rule my email. My email does not rule me.

My Inbox will be completely cleared by the end of the day. I WILL not use my Inbox as my to do list. If an email requires less than two minutes to deal with, then I’ll take care of it then and there. If an email takes longer than two minutes to deal with, then I’ll create a to do item with the information I need to complete it later at a more opportune time.

I will aggressively filter all emails so that I see only the important emails. If I miss some once in a while, that’s all right. If it were truly important that person would find a way to contact me, and if I mess up sometimes because a message goes into my bulk mail folder, it’s a cost I’m willing to pay for preserving my attention.

I will not check my work email Friday to Saturday night. That can wait.

The first time I check my email will be when I’m on the subway ride to school. I will not check it in bed. I will not check it in the bathroom. I will not check it while eating breakfast. Instead, I will read, I will exercise, I will take my time pampering myself a little before getting to school.

I will not turn on email notifications. That distracts me from my real work. Sure I’ll miss time sensitive information sometimes, but if it were truly important, that person would find a way to contact me (text is always good). My job is to think ahead, not to be stuck in the now.

I will check my email once before school, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. I will not check my email any other times. My before school check in and evening check ins are when I process emails, my mid morning and mid afternoon check ins are just to check for anything super urgent.

I will rule my email. My email does not rule me.

4 Responses

  1. I love this!

  2. Anu

    Debry, I have most when someone sends me a 10-page article to read, or even a 2-page article that’s very low-priority on my reading list (even if my relationship with that person is high-priority). For these sorts of e-mails, do you read the article the same day you receive it, or do you have a systematic way of making sure you get to it in a timely fashion (e.g. EOW)?

    • debryc

      Check out

  3. Anu

    *Should have read, “Debry, I have most trouble when…”

Reply to Anu

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