A reward is not ‘more email’

I say this every time I put a zine out, but I think that this is the way to go — at least for me. I just don't understand Patreon and Substack rewards being 'more email'. its baffling. 

Social media is collapsing, and as I wrote in the first paper edition of the zine. We are returning to the real. A physical newsletter/zine doesn't get any realer than that.

–Start Select Reset Zine 


Setting up a new MacBook, I hesitated to enable email. Why? Because the MacBook already has Messages/SMS built into the operating system, and that can be silenced by clicking "Do not disturb." That's a tricky proposition with email. Sure, I could just quit the email app, but I would know that it is there and I would feel the urge to click it. Somehow, silencing Messages is easier. Like swiping into Airplane Mode. 

The other complication: like most people in the modern world, I have two email addresses. One for work, and one personal. It's almost like an obligation. And, that obligation is what troubles me. Here’s the thing...  

Email is a to-do list other people make for you.   

Besides, if I am going to make a list I will likely use my trusty pocket notebook. Analog lists worked well for others, and it survived for years with pencil and paper. Maybe a pen and paper. Whatever your preference. To prove my point, note that there are several websites and books about the art of making lists. One of my favorites is Lists of Note

One more thought on email:  

Email is a wonderful way to miscommunicate what you mean and misinterpret what others are trying to tell you. 

to-do lists

  • How do you manage your email account(s)? 
  • Do you check it regularly, or when you get an alert? 
  • Do you have your work email on your phone? If so, do you use a stand-alone app or do you mix your work and personal email accounts on one app? 
  • Do you feel like there’s an expectation that you’ll be checking your email outside of your regular office hours/work days? 

These are questions I’ve been asking other teachers lately. Perhaps I’ve been thinking a lot about email (and management) because I’m on every almost email list and group in our district. And, I often feel obligated to read them in real time. Even on weekends. 

To wean myself off the work email habit, I’ve started deactivating my work email account on the weekends. I’ve been doing this for several months now. It’s been surprisingly easy. At least, I haven’t missed anything important—nothing that couldn’t wait until Monday morning. 

And, no one has complained. I’m thinking that next school year, I’m going to set office hours on my work email account. Banker’s hour’s. I’ll still keep my analog lists, or course.