Thursday 20 October 2016

Email addiction: How to Break Your Inbox Dependence

Email - Top Blockers of Productivity 

Email seems to be a kind of productive stalling which we desire to depend on. Though we do not seem to work on our real mission we contemplate on just answering the emails for some few minutes. This thought process seems to give rise to bad habits and some few minutes of checking the emails could prolong for a longer period than intended. The outcome is that several individuals acknowledge that checking the emails frequently seems to be an issue for productivity.

In the Work Management Survey by Wrike in 2015, around 40% of the respondents identified email as one of their top blockers of productivity. Replying to email had been considered as unfavourable to productivity, than unclear significances, putting off as well as also short deadlines. A latest book, Unsubscribe – How To Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction and Get Real Work Done, states that email addiction is a time-wasting epidemic in the modern workplace and is focused in helping those who tend to feel overcome by their inbox.Individuals tend to be disrupting their own work on a regular basis without even realizing it. In order to resolve this issue, it is essential to comprehend what seems to be going on in the brain and why does one seem to be obsessed with the inbox.

Increase Stress

Some recent studies confirm this theory and one has found that an average worker tends to check their email 77 times each day, sends as well as receives more than 100 and checks their first one immediately on waking up. Another study has observed that 90% tend to check work emails regularly outside office hours. Researchers have found that we tend to make up for it by spending 3.1 hours a day dealing with personal email when at work. The author of Unsubscribe, Jocelyn K Glei states that while checking emails all through the day could make one feel production, the disagreement seems to be true. Jocelyn also mentioned that besides being a big waste of time, staying on top of the emails continually seems to increase stress also. She informed that `scientists have established a clear link between spending time on email and stress. It means that the more frequently one would check their email, the more exhausted they may feel. In order to have a healthier relationship with your box you could keep in mind the following:

Avoid checking it every five minutes

Study from Loughborough University has found that it takes around 64 seconds for recovering your train of thought after reading an email. Jocelyn adds that `the human brain seems to have a tendency to want to complete task and when it recognises a task is completed, it then release the feel-good hormone dopamine. This is why we tend to feel happy on clearing our inbox or ticking things off a to-do list. But scientists have also found out that the brains mainly likes completing small easy tasks and the impeccable example of the same is the email. Thus dealing with the emails at first tends to feel relaxing and productive, though it also seems to be a never-ending job and after some time the unread emails seems like incomplete task which makes one feel apprehensive. One could check the emails every half hour instead of every three minutes and strive to check it a few times in the day at fixed times.

Close an email conversation

Due to the `Reply to all’ button, with the to and fro conversations, one tends to waste time and focus, according to Jocelyn. She adds that email is not a forum for discussion or debate. Hence reply and politely close down the conversation. The workplace chat apps like Slack are big in the US where they permit colleagues with on-going chats which are divided by subjects and teams and thus one ends up loaded with emails with the fear of missing something of importance. Work emails should be short, simple and if it cannot be solved quickly through email, a meeting could be recommended. This could resolve getting involved with email threads which seems to be time consuming.

Hide your Inbox

Each time the user tends to stop and glance at the inbox, they seem to be incurring something which according to researchers is known as a `switching cost’. But research has shown that having your email program open in the background while working tends to reduce the performance and even if it is minimised, one can see new emails coming in, your brain is aware that they are there, devoting some amount of energy monitoring them. She recommends avoiding this by closing down the email outside your set `checking’ time or placing the screen so one cannot see it.

Create an email hierarchy 

Jocelyn states that the independent nature of email means that everyone can have access to you and your time. Your inbox seems to be a total mix of relevant as well as random individuals, though usually only 5 to 10% of the emails seem to be helpful or important. She suggests categorising the people who tend to email you.

Tackle tricky emails promptly

Willpower tends to decline during the workday and hence morning checking session should be utilised in dealing with emails which need creativity or concentration while the afternoon to deal with the lesser ones which need a quick reply or a delete button.

Not everything seems to be urgent 

Merely5 to 10% of the emails seem to be urgent or important and hence it is not essential to check them during dinner with friends or in bed.

It is OK to ignore some of the emails

While replying to every email one may be considered polite, but time is a limited factor and hence one should not feel obliged in replying to cold-call emails from strangers.

Publicise your email habits

You could inform your colleagues that you only check your emails a few times a day so they can discern what to expect from you.

Let go of the zero inbox notion 

Jocelyn informs that an empty inbox is not a measure of productivity and hence one should let go of the notion that you would ever have one.

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