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How checking and deleting your e-mails regularly can boost productivity

How checking and deleting your e-mails regularly can boost productivity

Not only has it been found to reduce stress, but it also could improve work performance.

Emails can be a real chore to go through — especially when they keep coming in throughout the hour. It becomes much easier to just leave them to rot in your inbox, and fester till you reach at least 1,000 emails.

In an ideal world, that would not be a problem; but for the better of our sanity, it's time to get working on that inbox. A study by the University of Sussex Business School, Loughborough University and ESCP Business School, Madrid, identified a robust framework for understanding how best to utilise our work emails, and recommends four ‘super’ actions that can improve both wellbeing and productivity.

Here is a quick look at the four ‘super’ actions both organisations and individuals can implement into their daily routines:

Communicate work-email access boundaries

Workers are encouraged to communicate expectations about accessibility via email to help manage load and feel in control. For instance, utilising the ‘delay send’ option when needing to work flexibly out of hours or to clear work from the senders' inbox whilst respecting colleagues' work-life boundaries.

Regularly check and review your inbox

Checking, and then deleting, filing or actioning your emails regularly throughout the day is recommended to tangibly reduce stress and improve work-performance. It is also recommended for workers to switch off alerts, and log into your email along the way as your tasks reach their natural break points.

Only use work-email to send work-relevant communications.

Organisations should offer workers explicit and sustainable email training to demonstrate the benefits of the email system, provide tips for good work email practice, and give time to workers to implement training initiatives and learning, and develop self-efficacy.

Be civil, courteous and considerate in work-email exchanges.

Workers should send short, polite emails, with clearly defined actionable points and intentions to improve clarity and purpose.

Photo: 123RF

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