Email? Friend or Foe?

Does email make managers less effective and worse at managing their staff? Or do they mean we just have to manage our time better?

We all use it? Sometimes it seems as though it rules our life? Email.

Recent research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, led by management professor Russell Johnson, Michigan State University showed how email meant that managers were less effective and worse at managing their staff.

The team found that "they neglect manager-responsibilities and their subordinates don't have the leadership behavior they need to thrive."

Other research has shown that it can take at least 15 minutes to refocus from an interruption at work whether that is from email or someone asking you a question. This can lead to a sense of overwhelming. Johnson's research showed managers tended to focus on tasks they could do as it helped them feel they were achieving something rather than on the people-management aspects and leadership.

You can read more here Is email evil?

So what can you do about it?

  1. There are many things that can interrupt your day so planning your day as much as you can is helpful.
  2. I work with many people who feel stressed at work and much of this is due to how they make use of their time.
  3. Tips to manage email:
  4. Turn off the notifications that pop up each time you receive an email.
  5. Block of time to read emails. Perhaps first thing or just before lunch or mid-afternoon.
  6. Only read them twice a day (if anything is urgent they'll phone you!)
  7. Flag the ones that are important and put them into your diary to deal with another time.
  8. Bin the ones that are 'cc'd ' to you if they are not relevant.
  9. Cut down on the number of emails you send. Pick up the phone or go and talk to the person especially if they are in the same office as you!

There are other things you can do too to help you make better use of your time.

Put 'meetings' in your diary with you so that you have time to work on your own work.

Often people don't feel able to say no to things and people. Saying "no, not now," can help you manage your time and get things done. If you want to learn how to say no more comfortably have a look here.

Email is a great tool but be in charge of it not it in charge of you.

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