23 Jul How to unplug from your inbox
Unplugging from endless emails can feel like an impossible goal. Why? The average person now checks their inbox around 77 times per day. Phones and computers have become sources of anxiety rather than communication tools – especially where the workplace is concerned. At Time to Log Off, we believe that no-one should have to endure email overload, so here are five tips on how to unplug from your inbox and create some tech-life balance.
Resist the ping
The average person opens their emails within six seconds of arrival. Responding to that ping of an incoming email is addictive, it’s official. Blame dopamine a hormone produced by the brain that urges you, amongst other things, to search and explore. That notification ping switches your brain into ‘seeking’ mode, which triggers a release of feel-good dopamine. Break the loop, and learn how to unplug, by turning off your notifications – so you’re not tempted to immediately respond to that little ping for that dopamine hit.
Create a daily email routine
Research shows that it takes 25 minutes to get back into the zone of productivity after checking a single email. Instead of constantly checking your messages, and interrupting your concentration, set specific slots during the day to look at your inbox: when you first arrive at work, before lunch and late afternoon – or whatever times fit in with your particular role. Don’t let the tyranny of email ruin your productivity.
Ignore the messages that don’t matter
Email is one of the biggest time stealers. The average person spends around 28% of their working week managing emails. Research also shows that email overload is triggering stress, which isn’t surprising given that the average office worker receives around 121 messages a day. One quick way to learn how to unplug and reduce the time spent on emails is to ignore the people who don’t matter. Harsh as it sounds, don’t be drawn into digital discussions that you feel don’t involve or concern you. Your time is precious.
Clear up your subscriptions
Almost 50% of all messages received daily are spam meaning that they’re unsolicited or irrelevant. That’s a whopping number of stress-triggering, time-wasting emails landing in your inbox. Be ruthless. In your quest to learn how to unplug, regularly clear up your subscriptions to business-related newsletters from outside sources – and personal stuff especially online shopping sites. The quickest way to reduce the flow of unwanted messages is by going to the bottom of the email and clicking ‘unsubscribe’.
Set an email curfew
We all know that feeling, a work email drops into your inbox at 10 pm and you feel you should answer it. Don’t do it. Once you’ve left work, everyone has the right to free time away from any job-related worries. If your boss insists on emailing you at home reduce the timeframe that you’re available by 15 mins every week. So, the first week stop answering emails at 10.30 pm, the next week 10.15 pm and so on until you’re only available during your commute home. This free time matters, so much so that from 1st January 2017, French workers were given the right to disconnect from technology outside of employment hours.