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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Disconnecting

I got my first iPhone in 2009, after about 3 minutes I thought "How did I ever live without this?!" and I have been hooked since. You can spout your love of your Androids and how much better they are, but I am not listening. Maybe it's just because I feel like I'm too tired to learn something new, but I can't imagine ever having something other than an iPhone.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying I am getting the new $1000 version, but I do love my iPhone. It's pretty cool that I have a camera in my pocket and that I can catch up with friends (and enemies) far and near by just tapping an app. My abundance of email accounts and social media apps, coupled with my OCD kicking in whenever I see ANY little red number on an app means I am on my phone a lot. Like A LOT, A LOT.

As long as I have been giving PDs for teachers (read: 12 years) I have said some version of "And if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I will probably get back to you within the hour unless I am at Commonwealth Stadium." And this was pretty true. As soon as my email buzzed, I answered. Once I woke up in the middle of the night and picked up my phone to see what time it was, and saw an email, which I promptly replied to. The next day, the teacher stopped me and said "Do you ever sleep?"

My one exception to this has always been vacation. When I am actually ON vacation my email is OFF on my phone. It's the only way I can relax. I turn it off, I don't think about it, and when I get back to work after the week, I deal with the consequences of my choice.  Or as my former 4th grade teacher self would put it, the opportunity cost for having it off for a week at the beach is being chained to my desk for the first three hours back going through the 200 emails that have come in.

Last week was our Fall Break. Last week, I took a vacation and went to Pennsylvania for some much needed E&J time (and some E&J&J&J time).  When I came back to work on Monday, I spent the better part of the morning sorting, replying, fixing, and deleting. At around lunch time, I realized I hadn't turned it back on on my phone yet. And I made a decision.

I'm not doing it.

I am not turning my work email back on on my phone.

Monday and Tuesday, I was in my office all day, so during the day it was a moot point...or as Joey Tribbiani would say:

via GIPHY

However, today I was out of the office from 8-3 doing Learning Walks in some of our schools with the leadership teams from our schools and central office. I didn't bring my laptop, our Learning Walks are old school take notes on paper deals, so I didn't need it. Plus, I figured that I was with most of the people who would need something from me anyway.  The most interesting part of the day was in the hallways between classroom visits, in the school media centers during breakfast/lunch/breaks, basically any time we weren't watching a teacher and filling out our Plus/Delta sheets, every single administrator I saw was on his or her phone. Every. Single. One. It's funny the things you notice when you are NOT on your phone.

Hear me out, I am not judging, because I was that person just a couple of weeks ago. But I just don't want to be that person anymore. When I got to my office today, it had been approximately 22 hours since I had checked my email, and the building was still standing! I had 36 emails in my inbox, and another dozen or so in subfolders (thank you inbox rules). Nothing in there was too crucial (I fancy myself pretty important, but no one's going to die because CoolMathGames is blocked). Plus, I know that the most important people in my school district have my cell phone number and would text me anyway. Also, to be perfectly honest, there were a couple of emails in my inbox that had I seen them, they would've changed my attitude and put me in a bad mood all day today...and no one wants that to happen.

So, at least for the time being, if you e-mail me after 5pm, expect an answer in the morning.  As I told a friend tonight, I don't have a husband and kids I spend my evening with, but I do have a Deacon, and sometimes, I just have a couch I want to lay on.



3 comments:

Jen Wainman said...

Love, love, love this!!

Topher Cool said...

I totally get you!! When I began the job I have now, I intentionally did not add my work email to my phone because I did the same thing at my last job, wasting my time by not delineating it as mine. Good on you, my wise sister! ��

♥steph♥ said...

2 thumbs up, Erin!!! ♥