I am a total email zombie.
There’s no doubt that my email productivity sucks. I spend more time in my email than any other app. I constantly flip back and forth from my inbox while working. I’m the one refreshing my email while waiting in line, running out the door, at the bus stop… All considered, my email still usually hovers around 50 unread messages, there’s always information that’s fallen through the cracks, and I never seem to get anything done.
And no wonder. Did you know that it can take up to 20 minutes to re-focus after checking email? I likely spend as much time trying to fix email zombies as I do turning into one. Not only that, but so much gets lost in the great black hole of our inboxes that I’ve encouraged the Mind Key team to not use it. Instead, we have a shared doc on Google Drive where we communicate ideas, questions, and work with each other.
Don’t let “Email Zombies” eat up your day
Let’s face it: Email is killing our productivity. The average person checks their inbox 11 times per hour, processes 122 messages a day, and spends 28 percent of their total workweek managing their inbox. More than 80% of workers monitor their email over the weekend, nearly 60% tend to their inboxes on vacation, and 6% admit to checking email while their wife was in labor or during a funeral. So much for life’s precious moments!
There are two types of emailers: reactors, who rely on notifications and near-constant monitoring of their inboxes to nibble away at their email throughout the day, and batchers, who set aside specific chunks of time to power through their email, so they can ignore it the rest of the day. Not surprisingly, batchers are significantly more productive when it comes to getting shit done, and according to recent research, they’re also less stressed and more happy.
Like some evil workplace zombie, email is literally sucking away our time, our attention, and our energy. Frustrated by its debilitating impact on our working lives, I spent a year delving into the science behind our email addiction for my new book, Unsubscribe. These are four of my favorite research-backed strategies for minimizing the time you spend on email and maximizing the hours you spend on meaningful work.
1. Check your email in “batches” for less stress and more happiness.
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