This week I ended a relationship… with an online marketplace who shall remain nameless. The relationship lasted all of three days, was tiresome and bared no fruit for me as the partner. Just annoyance and pestering, which I wouldn’t tolerate too well from a human so certainly wasn’t going to from a company I had no interest in!

Okay, so this is a little dramatic (me?), but it was insufferable – easily five emails per day pinging into my inbox, definitely not necessary and surely not an effective way to market? I scrolled to the bottom of the email and revelled in the liberty of hitting the unsubscribe button. Ahhhhh.

Joking aside, I’ve tried to do this with all of my unwanted (junk) email traffic of late. A word of caution at this point, there may be many emails that are unwanted in your inbox, some of which you might even consider to be junk (or the joy of the CC train), but alas I have a job I love, which I would probably lose if I applied the following principles to all unwanted emails!

I’ve become a pro at setting up email rules and clicking the unsubscribe link in my work inbox. It’s honestly incredible the impact it’s had. I tend to just ‘swipe delete’ subscribed emails, bulletins, digests and newsletters (not in all cases!) as it can be a quick-win when you’ve had little or no protected time to focus on emails across a day or week. Our inboxes create huge and unnecessary levels of anxiety and pressure, particularly when returning from a period of sickness or annual leave. I recently blogged about how your inbox can serve as a to-do list for everyone else’s priorities – commit to making a change as you embark on the new academic year.

Following my relationship ending with the online marketplace emails, I was bursting with elation so Tweeted the breaking news and added the hashtag #teacher5adayDetox. I’ve really enjoyed following the variations of #teacher5aday activity and it’s been great to have more time to engage and interact with likeminded professionals via Twitter over the summer. The #teacher5adayBreakfast with @MissVicki_v has been fabtastic. I never eat breakfast on a school morning but it’s been great to have the time do so and share the love with others on social media (whilst cheekily trying to persuade large companies to donate things in support of teachers and the #teacher5aday brigade!).

If you’re not familiar with the origins of #teacher5aday or the underlying principles, you can read more about it from founder Martyn Reah here.

As we move towards the week of wellbeing #teacher5adaySlowChat on 29th August 2016, and a new academic year, I challenge you to reflect on and commit to stop doing / remove / declutter / start doing and share it using the hashtag #teacher5adayDetox

This also ties in nicely to the #change1thing work-life balance campaign being run by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (@ATLunion), which sets to encourage teachers to share their ideas about ways to cut unnecessary bureaucracy, help deal stress and conquer the workload mountain.

10 ways you could detox…

  1. Turning off the pop-up email notification which appears when a new email drops into your inbox (Microsoft Outlook).
  2. Turn off the sound and/or screen notifications on emails, Tweets and other communication streams.
  3. Unsubscribe from emails you no longer want (or never signed up to in the first place!) rather than just keep on deleting them.
  4. Prepare lunch the night before to ensure you have some healthy balanced goodies to look forward to.
  5. Buy a 500ml bottle and commit to drinking at least two bottles of water throughout your working day.
  6. Choose two to three timeslots during the day to check and respond to emails and don’t feel obliged to respond instantly – manage recipient expectations.
  7. Choose somewhere new to take a break at some stage during your working day – walk to the shop, sit in the car so you can’t be disturbed or go for a short walk.
  8. Scrap the AOB – if it needs to be discussed it should be on the agenda.
  9. Stick to time – be on time, leave on time. This applies to your working day, meetings and lessons.
  10. Create a memory jar or happy jar for your desk. Jot down lovely things that happen and when things aren’t great, pop the lid of a chose a nugget of joy to cheer you up.

Don’t forget to share your detox commandment using #teacher5adayDetox


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