Tag Archives: Stress

Is your email killing you? (FLASHBACK)

The average daily dose of business email is 121 messages:

13% totally irrelevant to you,

20% unnecessarily include you,

54% require no action by you.

Email use increases even as email processing saps productivity, costs money and heightens stress:

15% rise in email traffic since 2011. Even with the introduction of email alternatives like texting and social media options like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat springing up everywhere, the sheer volume of emails continues to rise,

6% of white-collar productivity is used to sort, read, trash or reply to emails,

$7,500-10,000 annual cost per employee to process email, and

Research suggests a positive relationship between frequently checking email and stress levels.

While formal logic wasn’t my strong suit in grad school, what about this logic pattern?

If stress kills, and

We now know that email causes stress,

Is it therefore possible, our email is killing us?

Armed with this unassailable logic, my friend, Moe Ilyas (an Atlanta-based telecom sales executive) and I set out to informally replicate a University of British Columbia study that tied the frequency with which people check email to stress level. We purposefully ignored our emails for one week, committing to check only once a day.

The results?

Moe reported higher productivity levels and greater pro-active control of his day.

Me? I couldn’t stay away; I might have an addiction that requires some type of digital intervention.

After discussing our experiences, we committed to trying it one more time and meeting again to compare notes.

The results?

We have exchanged lots of emails promising one another that we’d follow up real soon…

If you have the self-control, give it a try and let us know how it went for you.

-Jeff

Sources:

Matt Feiedman, Associated Press, Powered by NewsLook.com, August 1, 2014

Thomas W. Jackson, Sharman Lichtenstein. Optimising e-mail communication: the impact of seminar- and computer-based training. International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, 2011; 7 (2): 197 DOI: 10.1504/IJIEM.2011.039915

Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth W. Dunn. Checking email less frequently reduces stress. Computers in Human Behavior, 2015; 43: 220 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.005

Photo: TommL—Getty Images/Vetta

Show Up, Shut Up and Do It Our Way…

“…And the strategy begat the tactics.
 And the tactics begat the objectives.
That begat the tasks.
That begat the people in cubicles
 who no longer begat children
 because they’re working all weekend
 trying to finish the *@#$-
assignments they’ve been given…

-The Cluetrain Manifesto

Amazon lists 349,691 books on relationships, 162,082 of which deal with relationships in the workplace. But few titles focus on the changing relationship we have with our work. New research suggests that our jobs often cause stress, illness and even death.

Annual Costs of Work Related Stress:

  • $300B of absenteeism, reduced productivity levels and employee turnover,
  • Contributes to 120,000 deaths, and
  • +$190B related U.S. Healthcare Costs.
Employee Loyalty is Becoming a Thing of the Past:
  • 51% of employed workers are either actively seeking or open to a new job and
  • Over a third of you will change jobs every 5 years.
  • Younger employees, those with less formal education and high wage earners arelikely to change jobs more often,
  • 75% of job turnover is related to quality-of-life issues,
  • 13% of turnover can be attributed to poor relationships with their supervisor, manager and/or colleague, and
  • Replacing an employee typically costs 120-200% of the salary of that employee.

 
People are changing jobs, though a recent survey indicated that people view the process to be more difficult than doing your taxes, dealing with a car salesman, refinancing your home or planning a wedding.

Just a few generations ago, there was an implied social contract between workers and the organizations in which they worked.

Show up.
Do the job our way.
Don’t make waves and
 you’ll have a job for life.
NO MORE!

Outsourcing, right-shoring, downsizing and variable cost models summarily cancelled that social contract with no replacement. Next week we’ll examine what the new social contract might look like and what you can do to protect and advance your career when your next opportunity may not be a promotion to a corner office but an exit across town.

Is your email killing you?

(Something to think about in 300 words or less)

The average daily dose of business email is 121 messages:

13% totally irrelevant to you,

20% unnecessarily include you,

54% require no action by you.

Email use increases even as email processing saps productivity, costs money and heightens stress:

15% rise in email traffic since 2011. Even with the introduction of email alternatives like texting and social media options like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat springing up everywhere, the sheer volume of emails continues to rise,

6% of white-collar productivity is used to sort, read, trash or reply to emails,

$7,500-10,000 annual cost per employee to process email, and

Research suggests a positive relationship between frequently checking email and stress levels.

While formal logic wasn’t my strong suit in grad school, what about this logic pattern?

If stress kills, and

We now know that email causes stress,

Is it therefore possible, our email is killing us?

Armed with this unassailable logic, my friend, Moe Ilyas (an Atlanta-based telecom sales executive) and I set out to informally replicate a University of British Columbia study that tied the frequency with which people check email to stress level. We purposefully ignored our emails for one week, committing to check only once a day.

The results?

Moe reported higher productivity levels and greater pro-active control of his day.

Me? I couldn’t stay away; I might have an addiction that requires some type of digital intervention.

After discussing our experiences, we committed to trying it one more time and meeting again to compare notes.

The results?

We have exchanged lots of emails promising one another that we’d follow up real soon…

If you have the self-control, give it a try and let us know how it went for you.

-Jeff

Sources:

Matt Feiedman, Associated Press, Powered by NewsLook.com, August 1, 2014

Thomas W. Jackson, Sharman Lichtenstein. Optimising e-mail communication: the impact of seminar- and computer-based training. International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, 2011; 7 (2): 197 DOI: 10.1504/IJIEM.2011.039915

Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth W. Dunn. Checking email less frequently reduces stress. Computers in Human Behavior, 2015; 43: 220 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.005

Photo: TommL—Getty Images/Vetta

Meditation and Mental Processing

  1. Meditation isn’t just about easing stress
  2. New research shows we actually process more thoughts and feelings during mediation than when we are just relaxing
  3. Although many people attempt to suppress random thoughts during mediation, research suggests that allowing the mind to wander actually increases processing

Source: Jian Xu. Nondirective meditation activates default mode network and areas associated with memory retrieval and emotional processing