After-hours emails are something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I can remember being on the receiving end of after-hours emails at my last job that totally threw off my night, and oftentimes my ability to even sleep. Even if it wasn’t bad news, it successfully got me into “work mode” at a time where I should’ve been switched off. Overtime, I found myself checking work email all weekend long just in case my boss, a co-worker, or client had sent something important. After all, it wasn’t uncommon and that was the expectation that was set: important emails can come in at any time and responses are expected ASAP.
When I read Your Late-Night Emails Are Hurting Your Team on HBR last year, it really struck a chord. It could really relate to it. All of it. When I started UpBuild, I really wanted to use it as an opportunity to build a company I would have wanted to work for. Avoiding sending emails at crazy hours was certainly a part of that.
However, now that I’m on the road living the digital nomad life, it’s more of a challenge than it used to be. I work pretty regular hours during the week, but I also use the weekends to catch up. If my wife and I are driving on a Sunday (we’re currently on an 8-hour journey from Austin, TX to New Orleans right now), I use that “down time” to catch up on email. That means I need to be careful about how that catch up might impact my team.
I now use email scheduling so that I can send and reply to emails whenever I want and schedule those messages to be delivered during office hours. What I was doing at first was scheduling emails using Boomerang in gmail. That was great, but it doesn’t work with Google Inbox, which is what I use exclusively now since Mailbox was killed off (relatedly, isn’t it time to 301 that domain?). If I wanted to schedule an email, I had to hop back into old-school gmail and schedule it there. It was not fun.
What I discovered today was a great post and Google Sheets script – How to Schedule Email Messages in Gmail with a Google Sheet. Seriously awesome stuff. Of course it’s just a hack and you still can’t schedule an email directly within Google Inbox, but I’m all about it.
I’d highly recommend checking out the post if you need to write emails after hours but don’t want to abuse your team with emails that chain them to their inboxes 24/7.