E-mail Self Defense

Be careful when you check email. Lots of emails contain things you need to do and meetings you will have to attend. Everybody starts thinking about the potential problems with the tasks or the possible unpleasant things that might happen at the meetings. Especially if you suffer from anxiety, you need to practice some email self-defense.

Here in Denmark, there is a citizen’s initiative aimed at forbidding government agencies, counties, and municipalities from sending out messages outside of normal working hours. It was started by a person who sometimes got anxiety attacks when receiving officiel mail, and getting a message on a Saturday morning when his therapist as closed for the weekend was a major problem for him.

In Germany, there is a law that forbids companies to send email to employees in the evening and weekend. The boss can send it, but the company email system holds it until the morning of the next working day.

Even if you are not protected by national regulations, you can help yourself by setting an email-checking schedule. Also consider removing your email accounts from your phone. In that way, you will have to open up your laptop to check mail. That extra work will give you the chance to reconsider if you really need to check email right now.