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Are you drowning in your inbox? Tips for managing email stress at work

With billions of emails being sent daily around the world, it’s no wonder we’re feeling a little “inbox overload”.  And if you’re feeling the weight of it, imagine being Bill Gates: the Microsoft founder receives – roughly – 4 million emails per year!!!  Gates presumably has minions to sort his inbox, but others confront an abundance of emails daily that demand to be answered… the biggest culprit being those intra-departmental emails that seem to inundate us constantly.

As we look to portable devices, such as a BlackBerrys and iPhones, to improve our workplace flexibility, the flipside is that these tools create a feeling of overwhelm, with employees often replying to messages at all times, day and night. 

So… what to do?  The Australian School of Business has undertaken research into the productivity impact of emails, how to audit your email use at work, and tips for managing the workload that emails create and using email more effectively.  

But it’s not just spam that saps time and clogs inboxes. Information overload (IO), another by-product of the email age, also poses a problem. In a 2010 survey of 1700 knowledge workers by legal publishing house, LexisNexis, half of the respondents claimed that only about 50% of their emails – on average – were relevant to getting their jobs done. “The average Australian employee spends less than two-and-a-half days per week actually doing their job. The rest of the time is spent navigating a virtual forest of information,” according to the report, Information Rage Impacting Australian Workers.

This article has some good tips and insights and is well worth a read.  

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