What happens if you are concentrating on a task and you spot an unread email in your inbox?

How easy do you find it to ignore a potentially interesting new message and stay focused on the task in hand?

Would you be surprised to learn that research has proved that this break in your thought pattern effectively reduces your IQ by 10 points?

It’s this Pavlovian response to external stimuli that makes information overload a peculiarly 21st century problem.

One of the problems with this phenomenon is that information overload not only causes us to lose focus it means that we sometimes only half complete tasks.

We think we are multi-tasking – but in fact we are “half tasking”.

Research conducted by Psychologists at Gresham College, London compares this cognitive loss on the brain as that similar to that suffered by smoking cannabis.

Email as a communication medium is particularly problematic – regardless of the size of company or the business sector in which they function.

The sheer volume of messages that we receive compounds us to respond.

Often we are totally incapable of prioritising those emails that do in fact require a response and those which are merely copies or “information only” messages.

What are the solutions to this addictive behaviour? Are there any? – or do we need to accept this onslaught of information as part of life?

All is not lost. There are simple things that we can do to improve our productivity and decrease our email related stress.

  1. Take a break 15 minutes every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs and go for a walk. Maybe pop to the cafeteria or get some fresh air?
  2. Get some basic email training. This will make you a more responsible email user and help you to prioritise and deal with your message most effectively
  3. Sort out your inbox. Suggest that the whole company holds an email free day to get on top of email once and for all. You could call it your Company Email Amnesty.
  4. Call Emailogic to show you how to do 2 and 3

The problems of email overload are not going to go away. But the solutions are in our own hands.

Tackle it today – or continue to let it overpower you.

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