It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like without smart phones, computers, texts and emails.  Remember when none of these luxuries were available and we could only communicate “the old fashioned way” via mail, phone calls and telegrams?

But what would we do without our modern technology?  For some people, the convenience of email has had unintended consequences.  According to a recent article on by Rasmus Hougaard, doctors estimate that 11 million Americans are afflicted with “email addiction.” The effects of receiving positive information in an email such as kudos from our employer, good business news, or a helpful article like this causes our brains to release the hormone dopamine, which makes us feel good. We feel so good that we can start to crave it, which makes us want to check our emails every time we hear a buzz, ding, or other email notification.

Does this mean we should stop emailing? Hardly! Hougaard suggested four ways for us to actually be to be more effective and efficient in managing our emails:

  1. Avoid dealing with email the first thing in the morning. We’re usually most alert in the morning. Our time is better spent on more important things, like making plans. Wait at least an hour or two after you arrive at work or begin your day to tackle emails.
  2. Turn off your notifications. Few things tells others in a meeting or gathering that they’re unimportant than the constant beeping or pinging of incoming emails—especially when we answer them. When meeting with others, focus on the task at hand and check the emails later. Which leads us to the next tip:
  3. Set aside time for emails. If you’re like most people, you will receive emails throughout the day. Set aside two or three times a day when you check and respond to emails exclusively. Adjust according to your needs.
  4. Set aside time to focus. With distractions such as emails and phones, it is important to block out time to focus on your calendar to schedule your priorities for the day, month and even year.

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