The Enemy of Productivity

Did you get anything done today? OK, maybe is still too early in the morning, but how about yesterday? If you are anything like the typical worker, you can probably list a few things you’ve accomplished such as:

  • read emails
  • responded to emails
  • sent emails
  • deleted emails

See a trend here? If sometimes it feels like email is running your day, then you are not alone. The BBC reported that one third of office workers suffer from email stress, which I find interesting because email doesn’t really cause stress. It is how you deal with it that is the root cause.

On a previous post, I discussed some productivity boosters for those trying to manage the daily flood of emails, and this amusing chart (below) from HR Management reminded me of the constant struggle we all have when it comes to increasing our productivity while keeping our stress level low.

Email Stress and Productivity

Stress vs. Productivity from http://www.hrmreport.com

If your office is anything like mine, your colleagues send you Youtube videos, web links, and other stuff that although very entertaining doesn’t help you get your projects done on time. Have you ever tried simply not checking email? The chart above shows in a funny way that you sometimes feel more productive when you are checking email, and that you may turn to it if you get bored, and from personal experience I have felt the same way.

Think back to your daily activities. When are you usually checking email? Is it the first thing you do in the morning? Right after lunch before you decide to finally tackle that week-old project? Are you using email to get your adrenaline up like a junkie?

Just close, shut down, disconnect and ignore your email for about 1 hour. If you are feeling extremely brave, then try going for 2 straight hours. That’s right, and no peaking! Ignore the email and focus on work. I bet you can get some stuff done today.

Some of my favorite tips on email productivity are:

What is your stress level today? Close the email and ask yourself again in 1 hour.

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