Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Check Email on Weekends

Here's why you shouldn't check email on the weekends

I made a big mistake this morning. I checked my email. On a Sunday morning.

It was somewhat accidental. I was searching for a document in an old email attachment, and happened to see an email that had come in regarding an important client project.

It was one of those emails that shared some frustrating news — about which I can’t act until Monday morning. The only thing I can do is be upset and frustrated for the rest of my Sunday.

And that really sucks.

That’s a big reason I have a self-imposed rule not to check email between 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Monday. If I can’t deal with something until Monday morning anyway, what’s the point of ruining my weekend by worrying about it until then?

I imposed this rule after reading Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Workweek. He explains the rationale in more detail in this blog post:

“Don’t scan the inbox on Friday evening or over the weekend if you might encounter work problems that can’t be addressed until Monday. This is the perfect way to ruin a weekend with preoccupation. Remember that just as income has no value without time, time has no value without attention.”

This is also a great example of why Getting Things Done guru David Allen talks about the importance of “appropriate engagement.” If I can’t appropriately engage with the issue or email until Monday morning, why worry (inappropriate engagement) about it all weekend?

I was having a really nice Sunday, until I checked my email.

You can rest assured I won’t be breaking my no-email-on-weekends rule anytime soon.

You should start such a self-imposed rule, as well.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!


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