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Stop Email Overload

Is your inbox causing you stress? Learn some tips that can help you disconnect and reduce your stress levels.

By Lisa Stein, Contributing Editor

Do you continuously check your email? May be time to take a break.

Researchers at the U.K.-based research group Future Work Centre studied the email habits of 2,000 workers. Their findings: Email overload is stressing us out — big-time.

The good news, say researchers: There are ways to manage the madness. Here are some tips:

Skip early-morning/late-night checks. Is checking email one of the first and last things you do each day? This can be stressful and hurt sleep and productivity, researchers warn. The fix? Tackle an important project first-thing — and sift through emails later. Otherwise, you risk getting bogged down wading through your inbox. As for email night owls: Give it a rest. Research shows technology disrupts shuteye and may cloud next-day focus.

Ditch the dings. Turn off alerts that pop up on your screen announcing new emails. They’re distracting and stressful because they tempt you to stop what you’re doing and flip to your inbox. Worried you’ll miss an important message if you silence them? Tailor settings so you only get alerts from key people. That way, you won’t miss a note from, say, your boss. But you can ignore other email until you’re ready to deal with it. Another helpful hint: Set aside designated times during the day to check your inbox instead of always sneaking a peek.


Future Work Centre. You’ve got mail: A research study about email communication at work. Accessed: May 26, 2016.
Radicati Group, Inc. Email statistics report, 2015-2019. Accessed: May 26, 2016.

Last Updated: March 22, 2016