Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Got Rid of Email on My Phone Today

Watch this video first!  I look so young! hahahahah  - It is short and from 2016

I made the decision to get rid of school email on my phone today.  I know others have probably done this or never had email on their phone.  I was reminded about this by "Humble the Poet" on the Brilliant Idiots podcast a few weeks back. 

I blog to get and idea out, to rhyme through poetry, to try and make an idea concrete, and sometimes just as a time capsule for my enjoyment in retirement.  I enjoy writing now to read later when I have time to really reflect on the decisions I made.  I think this is a solid decision.  Below are the reasons why and how this is going to work.

I am currently in my 5th year, maybe 6th year as the principal at Carrie Downie Elementary School.  I came there after 7 years as an AP with no cell phone at all.  I am not perfect and have many areas of growth, but one thing I think I get right is accessibility.  I am accessible to all staff almost all the time, usually not in my office though, as I am rarely there.  You can find me other ways, text, stop by the room, hallway, email, DM, Voxer, call, etc. 

So here is the why and the how this is going to work.

  • I was riding my bike with my children 3 weeks ago and we stopped to drink some water.  I checked my email.  
  • I was at the beach this summer, kids were diving in waves, I sat in my chair and checked my email.
  • Yesterday, I stopped at a red light and checked my email.  I have done this for 5 years religiously.  Stop driving, stop walking, sitting, standing still, walking, equals "check your email."  

I am reading email 2-3 times before responding.  I hesitate to respond on my phone because I have big fingers and typing that way has never been easy for me.  I even moved to a slide keyboard on my phone and no help. 

So it was a problem.  I am solution oriented, so what to do?  I went back to what Humble advised me from Brilliant Idiots podcast.  Basically and in summary, if you erase a mode, you erase an urge and therefore make what makes most sense to you, not what you think you need.

So I grabbed my old phone.  I put email on that, it is WIFI enabled at school and home. 

I have a laptop, that obviously gets my email.

That is all I need.  I have email in WIFI only now.  I don't need to check email at the light.  I don't need to check email at water stops on bike rides on Sunday. 

If you need me that bad, I got text, I got Voxer, I got DMs, I got calling ability, I have still a half dozen ways that you can get in touch with me quickly. 

I have not had to respond to an email in minutes or even hours in many years, if ever.  And if it is that important, because of links, etc.  Text me to check my email.  I am fine with that! 

I am just breaking a bad habit and cold turkey is the way for this one. 

What this has done for me already in just 6 hours

I am scared, I am afraid I am going to go back.  I am afraid I will fall too far behind.  I am scared that come Friday, I am loading my email back on my phone.  

I have confidence that when I make changes like this, I have proven to myself in the past, that I am able to train my practice and brain to adapt to these new routines.  

I am excited for the weekend!  I will check my computer, I have my old phone, I will still see emails.  I will see emails purposefully to respond, not out of habit, because I have 3-10 seconds to check something.  I think this will make me a better communicator.  I hope.  It is not an experiment.  I am committed.  

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