Workers suffering from ’email stress’

Does this ring a bell?

Targets, deadlines and getting to work on time have long been the main sources of pressure for most workers, but now it seems the office is being plagued by a new problem: e-mail stress.

According to new research increasing numbers of workers say they are swamped with a never-ending tide of messages.

Trying to keep up with a stream of incoming mail interrupts normal work and leaves staff tired, frustrated and unproductive, it concluded.

Employees also feel under pressure to check and respond quickly to emails, with some checking their inbox up to 40 times an hour.

The timing of this article is somewhat serendipitous, given that I just this week received my copy of the new Take Back Your Life, updated for Outlook 2007.

TBYL is a great guide for folks who are already Outlook users, and who want to get the most out of it, as well as learn how to organize stuff (like paper and electronic documents) that Outlook isn't made to handle.

There's some time required to get your system set up, and it requires discipline, but I found that when I was following the recommendations in the book, I was far more productive, and found it easier to keep on top of email, todos, etc.

Of course, as with any change in habits, it's easy to fall back into old patterns, which is what happened with me. Since we're in the early part of a new fiscal year here at work, and with that comes new commitments, I figure now is a good time to get back into the TBYL groove.

At some point in the future, I'll probably write a longer post (or article) on the things I think make TBYL a particularly effective system for improving productivity, but first I need to finish the new edition of the book, and then get back to living it.

The alternative is the kind of stress described in the article...and I'm kind of over that.

Workers suffering from 'email stress' | News | This is London

Comments (4)

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on TBYL – I just ordered a copy of the book.

  2. DEvHammer says:


    You’re welcome…ping me via the Contact link if you have any questions, or want to share your experience. Or blog it, and send me a link.

  3. Dan Kahler says:

    Timely post, Andrew – this week I just began re-reading my copy of "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen, and the last time I did that you emailed me to share your experiences with GTD and to suggest I check out TBYL (very considerately, I might add).  

    Thanks for the heads-up!

  4. DEvHammer says:


    Hope it helps. I think GTD is fine, if you can work within his system. I just think Allen relies far too much on paper, and GTD is not, IMO, optimized for Outlook, which is my primary tool for capturing,  finding, and scheduling.

    Please keep me posted on how it works out for you.

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