Redrawing work-life boundaries with the #NoWorkEmailAfterWork pledge.

Dr. Naftali Kaminski and friends in the Academic Twitterverse offer tips for how Senior Faculty, Chiefs, Chairs and other leaders can answer the call to join the movement.

TIP #1: Adding a message to email signatures.

Easing into #NoWorkEmailAfterWork pledge, I added a simple vulnerability statement to my e-mail signature, acknowledging I may end up sending after hours but do not expect an answer. Coincidentally, first was to @mnballingerabout #ATS2021 – but just the beginning, will do more

TIP #2: Delaying email send times.

That’s the hard part for us night owls. Our work hours vary from the early birds quite a bit.

Prof. Schenkel Is Still Wearing a Mask @AlanSchenkel

I’m a very early bird, have been trying to write replies or new emails and set to send in a more appropriate time frame so that our team doesn’t have to start the day with 4:00 to 6:00 am pile of my emails.

Katherine Hartmann @Hartmann_KE

One thing that has been really useful to me in this regard is “send later” in outlook. Allows me to reduce anxiety of things hanging over my head at night, but not bother anyone until business hours the next day.

Perry Wilson, MD MSCE @fperrywilson

To try and comply with the “no emails outside work time” rule I’m trying out an add-on for Apple Mail that allows me to write emails and schedule them for delivery at a time I choose in the future – I can write emails whenever I like, but they only get sent during working hours.

Charlotte Summers @charlot_summers

What a thoughtful discussion so we can be respectful of colleagues and trainees in our use of email.

I love the complementary approach.

  1. Send later in Outlook so email lands during “normal” working hours
  2. Permission to receiver not to respond immediately

Nitin Seam @NitinSeam


What do you think? Is this appropriate for trainees and (early career) faculty too? Or will people think *they* (and I do mean *me* ) are lazy … this is why I rely heavy on delayed send.

Maria C. Basil @MariaCBasil

…Seriously, our aim is to protect early career, not to make life more complicated. OK, if YOU sent an e-mail anytime you wish, but expectation from OTHERS that you answer at nonwork hours should be gone.

Naftali Kaminski @KaminskiMed 

My mentor is GREAT at this. Never demands hours. Very flexible. Has good personal balance. Would never expect an email reply after hours (but does often email at 9pm…) I worry about this more on clinical side.

Maria C. Basil @MariaCBasil

…I think we need to increase awareness, coming out of the pandemic (god willing) there may be more acceptance.

Naftali Kaminski @KaminskiMed

TIP #3: Acknowledging family responsibilities in a professional manner.

I’ve had something similar for a while to acknowledge that while I may work weird hours to juggle work and 2 young kids I certainly don’t expect responses “out of hours” from others. flexibility is key to #worklifebalance and we should all find a balance that works for us.

Amanda Tatler @amandatatler

@MichaelOmbrello @rheum_cat were talking about this a while ago. I settled on this. Because of family responsibilities, my hours are erratic and I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to reply. I like the ‘send later’ feature, but can you make this work on the iPhone??

Puja Mehta  @DrPujaMehta1

@Spondy_MD had a scheduled email fail to send so now I’m afraid to use that feature. I just have the “respond when it’s convenient for you” when I’m sending during after-hours (either for me or for the recipient, wherever they are).

Rheum Cat @rheum_cat

The original Twitter thread can be found here. Some comments above have been lightly edited for punctuation and clarity. Shared with permission from Dr. Naftali Kaminski.

Additional Resources

Taking a Break Without Losing Your Momentum (Or Your Mind!)

I’m Not Telling You to Lie

Email: Do It Well

Want to live on the Edge?


Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Saving subscription status...


You May Also Like