How much time do you spend every day reading and replying to emails? If you think switching back and forth between multiple windows on your computer screen is helping your productivity, you’re wrong. Nick Bilton writes in The New York Times that thinking about his “email in-box makes [him] sad.” He says:
“I’ve tried everything. Priority mail, filters, more filters, filters within filters, away messages, third-party e-mail tools. None of these supposed solutions work.
“I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace.”
Bilton reports that taking a break from emails, even having an “email vacation” from your inbox, can reduce stress and increase productivity.
A study recently published by the University of California, Irvine found that people with email accounts constantly switch windows an average of 37 times per hour, whereas those who didn’t have accounts switched around 18 times every hour.
In the study, participants were unable to access their emails for five days and researchers say that this hiatus allowed them to complete their work more efficiently. Furthermore, these people experienced “more natural, variable heart rates,” according to the heart monitors attached to their bodies during the experiment.
Gloria Mark, a co-author of the study, tells Bilton that people obsess about emails because “there isn’t an off switch.”
“E-mail is an asynchronous technology, so you don’t need to be on it to receive a message. Synchronous technologies, like instant messenger, depend on people being present.”Although some people allow their instant messenger services to save offline messages, most cannot receive messages if they are not logged on. With e-mail, it is different. If you go away, e-mails pile up waiting for your return.”
And since it’s so easy to hit the “send” button every time you have a message for someone, you could end up eventually sending them numerous messages in order to finish the conversation. As a result, it might be a better solution to just walk over to their desk and tell them, or wait to send messages in batches like a few times a day so that you’re not sending emails every 10 minutes.
Last year, the average corporate employee sends and receives about 105 e-mails daily, according to an email statistics report issued by research firm the Radicati Group.
And although the report does say that email is slowing down due to Instant Messaging (IM) and social networks, constantly communicating via technology is also reported to being the cause of Millennials inability to form “deep-thinking capabilities” and “face-to-face social skills” by 2020.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.