Why I shouldn’t check email late at night

I had an interesting experience this weekend that provoked me to consider deeply why I think email late at night is bad for me.

Here are my top three reasons:

1. Whether I intend it or not, most email is directly related to work. Even if I’m just glancing for an answer to one question, invariably there is something else there which may flip on the “time to think about work” machine in my brain. I have found that once this happens I have difficulty going to sleep. And even when I do, I don’t sleep well.

2. My filters don’t work as well at night. Every day things cross my path (electronically or in person) which I have to respond to. My preferred response in every situation is a gracious, God-honoring, “how can I be a servant here to bring resolution” type response. Sometimes, my natural response is not that. 🙂 When my feelings are less positive, I attempt to filter these out rather than letting them get into my communications. Except at night. At night, when tired, I don’t have the same patience or self-control, so the filters fail. When this happens, a friend or team member (or worse, my boss) gets an email response that reflects my negative mindset at the time. Not usually a good idea.

3. Even though I choose to limit when I check email, I have observed that everyone doesn’t do the same. Some people look at email on their phone whenever it comes in. As much as I might discourage this, I am not likely to change it. So, my last reason why email at night is bad for me is simply for the sake of the receivers. Because if they don’t protect themselves from thinking about work at night, I can protect them by not sending them anything.

What about you? Any other reasons why you think email at night is a bad idea?

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