Don’t allow email burnout to push your buttons
Friday, May 08, 2020
We’ve used email so long that it’s become second nature, and it’s hard to remember when we didn’t have an inbox to check.
It’s gone from a secondary function on our desktops to a constant source of information, connection and maybe distraction, from our desktops to our tablets and our phones.
Now that so many people work remotely — even before the coronavirus pandemic hit — email has proven its value as much as it ever has. Even the notifications for the rapidly growing number of video conferences come via email. But there’s no need for you to suffer email burnout.
Shelter-in-place has resulted in many Americans learning to become more organized, attempting to declutter, and adjusting to working from home. That includes, in many instances, creating a new workspace. The procedures that were used in that instance can be followed to help sort out email.
The globe is home to more than 3.7 billion email users, and that number is expected to swell to 4.3 billion by 2023. It might seem as though as each one of those users is sending you emails every day, but the numbers are more manageable than that.
The average worker receives about 120 emails per day, according to a report from Radicati. Not all of those emails are being read at a desk, though. Americans are checking their email while in bed (50%), while in the bathroom (42%), and — against sound judgement — while driving (18%), according to a 2015 report by Adobe Campaign.
As with any task in the workplace, setting priorities is crucial to managing email. Some like to tackle a full inbox first thing in the morning, some prefer to wade in gradually and some like to swat emails as they arrive throughout the day. Find the system that’s best for you and stick with it.
Figure out where email fits in your daily workflow, then give it the attention it deserves. If you’re bombarded with emails that aren’t time-related, use your settings to divert those into folders. Just don’t forget to address them later. There’s no benefit to clogging up a folder till it’s overwhelming.
Be sure to check your junk or clutter folders regularly, not only to keep them from becoming overgrown, but to make sure you don’t miss anything you’ll need. Co-workers might be sending from different devices, and your system might not always send emails to the correct location, even if they’re from a familiar address.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered another dark side: scammers working overtime by using email to gain access to accounts and other vital information. Even emails that seem to appear from within your company can be phishing attempts.
Before you open an attachment that you didn’t expect or click on a link that you aren’t familiar with, reach out to the sender to be sure it was intended. But do that through an original email, not as a reply to the questionable chain. Keep in mind, if your system is compromised, the IT team has to work remotely as well, adding to an already complicated scenario.
When dealing with email, concentrate on one task at a time, the same as you would with any other work-related task. You wouldn’t be on a phone call with your cousin during a meeting in the conference room, so don’t type during that Zoom meeting with your team.
Email is vital to work and our personal lives, so give it the attention it has earned, and send the potential for burnout in the other direction.
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