When did you last check your email? Whether you’re reading this in bed, while having breakfast, on your way to work, or at the office, chances are it hasn’t been long. And if simply reading about email makes you want to quickly check your inbox, you’re not alone.
According to a recent survey by Adobe, on average we spend 5.4 hours per day checking our email. Of that large chunk of time, 3.3 hours are spent on work email, while the remaining 2.1 hours are taken up by our personal inbox.
If you’re thinking that’s a lot of time to spend reading electronic messages, wait till you read this: 18% of the female respondents and 12% of male respondents estimate they spend more than 6 hours a day on their work email. Unless processing emails is your entire job description, that seems like a lot of time to spend in Outlook.
Part of the reason people are able to rack up the hours spent checking their inbox is because they start early. Over a quarter (26%) of respondents said they check their email while still in bed. This is particularly popular among 18 to 24-year-olds (51%).
37% checks their email as their getting ready, while 11% do so during their commute. The remaining 26% manages to make it into the office without having opening their inbox.
While some of us seem to be glued to our inbox, 40% of respondents estimated they spend only an hour or less checking work email.
According to the survey, 73% of people feel they’re currently spending the right amount of time on email, while 22% said they should really cut down. Only 5% said they don’t check enough and should do a better job of staying on top of it.
No matter which of the above categories you fall into, before you start composing your next email, consider how effective it’s going to be. A study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people are much less persuasive over email than they think, as they underestimate the importance of nonverbal cues.