My supervisor doesn’t have a life

Question:

I work for a recently divorced supervisor who doesn’t have a life. Every evening and all weekend long he emails me assignments. I’ve let him know my cellphone pings whenever I receive an incoming email and it’s disconcerting to get pings when I’m camping, sleeping or out with friends.

He’s apologized and says it makes his life easier to send the assignments as they came up, but he doesn’t expect me to act on them until Monday. I understand this, but it bugs me to have my inbox filling up all weekend long. I know I could create a personal email and split out my work and personal inboxes, but it simplifies my life during the workweek to have one inbox. Also, the ping notifications for incoming emails help me stay connected. How do I get him to cut it without him deciding I’m not a team player? Or do I just need to suck it up?

Answer:

If you want to stop your supervisor from using you as his human to-do list, give him an easy alternative. For example, he can place all of his emails to you in his draft folder and then simply send them all Monday morning. If, however, he copies you on emails he sends to others, this won’t work. Alternatively, show him the “notes” icon on his phone and suggest he place all evening and weekend requests there.

If he doesn’t like either option, you’ve already identified two easy technological workarounds — turn off your cellphone’s sound when you don’t want to be distracted or create two inboxes, and log off the work one in the evening and over the weekend.

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