Constantly Checking Email Is An Addiction

Image by BuzzFarmers via Flickr

Image by BuzzFarmers via Flickr

You’ve heard it before, your email inbox is a terrible to-do list. Whenever you try to concentrate on getting something done, a new email comes in and distracts you. But the numbers are telling the story, we feel compelled to check in constantly, some people as many as 100 times per day. Why?

Daniel J Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience and author of The Organized Mind, recently published an article saying that constantly checking your email counts as “a neural addiction.” No wonder people jokingly once called their device a "Crack Berry." 

“Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.”

This phenomenon is what can lead to days that get away from us, reading and answering email at work without actually getting anything substantial done. Levitin says “we are sacrificing efficiency and deep concentration when we interrupt our priority activities with email.”

Levitin goes on to say that when you’re trying to do something important and “an email is sitting unread in your inbox, [it] can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.” Checking email makes you dumber!

We at Handle want to help you focus and do your best work so you can go home happier. Process your inbox quickly. Turn actionable emails into to-dos with a swipe. Prioritize a plan. Then work from your Timeline to keep your attention on the good stuff, without getting distracted by new email. Try Handle and let us know if it helps you rehab your email addiction.


Like this article? Use the Share button below to post on your favorite social network.