Why Email isn’t Great for Productivity


Mail has changed its form multiple times over the years from telegrams to handwritten notes, to our most recent invention of electronic mail. But are we reaching a point of email fatigue?

There’s no doubt that email has transformed the inner workings of today’s organisations, limiting the amount of face-to-face conversations taking place between departments and allowing for recipients to respond whenever they are able to. Email is thus great for non-time sensitive matters, and everyone knows how to use it; although not everyone knows how to use it well.

Let’s face it, email isn’t great for productivity. Ask yourself this; how many times have you stopped what you were doing to check your inbox, or your phone every time it ‘pings’ fearing it’s a time sensitive matter, only to find that it was either nothing important at all or that it was someone else’s phone? It’s a distraction that disconnects you from your work.

Think of all the emails you get per day; it’s an avalanche with your name on it, and you hoping it will get sorted before it’s ‘time to go home’ o’clock. Throughout this process it becomes more and more difficult to separate important messages from noise, and so we fall into the trap of being part of the 39% of people, who regularly check, send and receive emails outside of working hours.

However, there are ways to regain your productive self at work:

  • Create filters: this is easy to do – you just need to delve into your mailbox settings. Filters will help you get organised and stop emails from clogging up your inbox.
  • Set aside specific times throughout the day to deal with them; don’t go back to thinking to check them ‘real quick’, otherwise you’ll get sucked in again.
  • Turn off notifications: these annoying pings and distracting flashes take away your focus.
  • Keep them short and sweet: emails should get straight to the point. Don’t waffle!

One more thing – most people go overboard with the CC function ‘just to keep you in the loop’, so don’t feel like you have to be part of every conversation.

You can do this!

Ewelina is a communications specialist and you can follow her at @marek_ewelina.

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Check in with Kim and the rest of the Wordy Bird team for odds and ends on writing, web management, marketing and PR for business.

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