WSJ: Be Happier and More Productive, Care Less About Your Email

Woman checking her email

With how connected we all are now, there is pretty much always a way for someone to reach out to you. And thanks to smartphones, you are likely getting an alert the second anyone emails you for anything.

It has created a heightened and, for some, exhausting sense that you need to be ready to respond at any time.

However, The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article arguing why you would be much happier to not enable such habits.

The article explains that many people have gotten used to constant email checks in part because it feels like a quick way to say that you are staying on top of things.

But in reality, it can also be an interruption to your workday that breaks your momentum on whatever you were getting done. That is why setting clear limits can be helpful.

If you don’t work at a job that relies on the need for immediate responses throughout the day, you could try limiting yourself.

Some even set up automated messages making it clear that they only check their email in the morning and at the end of the day. That way you don’t have anyone making expectations of your time.

However, there are cautionary tales against going overboard. The WSJ piece mentions numerous people who felt so overwhelmed at all their unread emails that they simply purged their entire inbox, assuming anything important would receive a follow-up email soon enough.

One scientist recounted how using this tactic wound up costing him a $10,000 grant that only needed him to reply and accept it in his email.

The unfortunate reality is that even if email time can be draining, it is necessary. But that does not mean it has to leave you ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Set reasonable limits to keep yourself happier and more productive.

For more on how to break the habit of compulsively checking your email, read what The Wall Street Journal shared here.


Leila Gharani has practical tips for managing your inbox so you can be more productive and less stressed.


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