Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Email Fatigue

A Scottish survey found that "some" workers check their email inboxes up to 40 times an hour, leaving them "tired and frustrated - as well as unproductive." Women are more prone to this practice than men, and it is apparently driven by a sense of obligation to answer emails promptly. Psychologists urge victims of this malaise to, in essence, "lighten up" and not take the onslaught of emails too seriously. They ask, "How many of those e-mails that you send need to go exactly right now? Probably very, very few indeed." Only 38 percent of the 200 respondents to the survey "felt relaxed enough" to wait a day before answering emails, causing one expert to opine, "E-mail is the thing that now causes the most problems in our working lives... It's an amazing tool but it's got out of hand." The simplest solution is not to check your email so often - but that advice may be lost on those of us who have become email addicts. For us, reading and answering email is not just an obligation - it's a drug.

(As a sidenote, one wonders whether the survey responses were solicited by email - in which case those most compelled to answer promptly would have been vastly overrepresented among the respondents.)

"Workers 'stressed out' by e-mails" from BBC News

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