Has it really been a month since I last put finger to keyboard - what happened?
Life, I guess...its what happens to us all in this incredibly over busy world we live in, where productivity is key and expectations are so high.
Living up to those expectations is a challenge for so many of us. In my school Trustee (Governor) role, I was talking with one of the teachers earlier this week and the conversation turned to emails and the negative impact they can have.
His whole demeanour changed as he talked about the draining demands of emails. He deflated in front of me and only perked up when he talked of what he would rather do in his 'out of school' hours - marking a set of books is motivating, whereas emails are energy sucking and deflating.
Oh, how I agreed with him - well, not about the book marking bit as I have no experience of that, but definitely about the energy sapping qualities of emails. Its not so much their content (although sometimes, that does contribute to the deflation)...mostly, its about the sheer volume and how to manage them all.
This teacher had clearly reflected long and hard on the topic and was, in my opinion, quite right in saying we have not, as a society, built any principles and maxims around emails. Unlike language, which has evolved and been refined over centuries and we have learned, over time, some basic principles of communicating in this way, emails and social media, as forms of communication, have become central to our lives in such a short time frame...and we don't know what to do with them!
I am conscious that over the last few months, despite my best intentions, other aspects of life have been whittled away in favour of keeping up with the instant demands and expectations created by the immediate nature of emails! Its got to the stage where, at times, I would be sent an email and then receive a text informing me that I'd been sent an email...please, go away, I'm doing something else right now!!
Stepping away from emails for 3 days to attend a work symposium resulted in email in box overload. Attending an SLT Strategy Planning Day this week was peppered with email interruptions, which distracted from the strategic focus and sucked people back into tactical operations.
And one of our biggest challenges at the moment is 'how do we communicate with our members without resorting to yet another email?' So, whilst we are trying to do something about email overload, we are still contributing to it!
I gave up social media last year and it has changed my life (mostly for the better). Do you think there is any chance I could give up emails this year? Maybe just for Lent...or one week...? Or a day or two...?