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THE INC. LIFE

Resolved: These Are the Best Techniques for Curbing Your Email Addiction Right Now

The average worker is interrupted by email messages 56 times each day, and it takes approximately 25 minutes to get back on task.

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BY Peter Economy - 01 Jan 2019

email addiction

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Are you highly functional at your office job, or are you actually addicted to email?

For something that is supposed to help us get work done, email can actually serve as a major productivity inhibitor.

The modern workplace is rife with technological distractions enough as it is, and your inbox is no different. If you feel as if your constant email checking, replying, and forwarding has taken over your life, here is how to kick your email dependency to the curb.

Cut ties with your mobile apps.

If you are always connected to your email inbox, you will always have a chance to be distracted by a new message. The average worker is interrupted by an email message every 10 minutes per day (or an average of 56 times daily), and it takes approximately 25 minutes for one to completely refocus attention back on their original task. That's a whopping 2 hours daily spent on recovering from distractions alone. Habitual email checking can cause you to lose focus, and if email is in the palm of your hand, you are almost asking for your work performance to be interrupted and damaged.

Schedule your email time.

It is so tempting to check email every 10 minutes. In fact, this temptation is strengthened by the fact that your brain has a fondness for dealing with emails. Jocelyn Glei, author of Unsubscribe, notes that our brains like completing small easy tasks (like checking and responding to emails), and the feel-good hormone dopamine is even released once an item is crossed off a to-do list. However, Glei emphasizes that although "dealing with emails initially feels relaxing and productive," it's "also a never-ending task" and "after a while unread emails feel like unfinished tasks." Checking your email too often can cause anxiety, so aim to check it a few times a day at certain times. Your mental health will thank you for it.

Make time for you.

In the long run, squaring away more time for email means parsing out less time for yourself, your friends, and the joys of life.

If you fill your day up with activities you genuinely enjoy -- whether it's a new hobby, classes, or coffee with colleagues -- you will be less stressed, and more mentally clear. You might even experience a greater sense of freedom away from your inbox.

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