As a Career Coach I am currently dealing with multiple queries about stress in the workplace, and most of this stress is being caused by the weight of emails constantly flowing in to our inbox. The time it takes to go through this avalanche of emails is preventing us from being productive and is the root cause of stress and anxiety at work.
We are all guilty of having our email notification pop up in the corner of our screen, there seems to be no way of ignoring that notification. The result of this distraction is loss in production and concentration. Why ? because it takes on average up to 20 minutes to get back the concentration we had prior to our distraction. Don’t take my word for it. Multitasking expert, Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, highlights these negative effects of email multitasking based on an extensive study into the costs of interrupted work: Credit Mayo Oshin – “How to eliminate email anxiety”.
What is the answer, here is the advice I give to my clients and it works.
- Turn off those notifications
- Check your emails twice or three times per day; choose a time when you are less likely to need your best brain like just after lunch or just prior to leaving the office.
- Keep the morning, alert brain for the important tasks that you are currently letting your emails get in the way of.
- Forget the possibility of having an empty inbox, ok so it feels great in the short term to have an empty inbox but this is an additive habit that makes us feel good. This is not a feeling of productivity, which is why we are stressed.