How to beat your email addiction


Email is an important part of our communication at work or at home. But sometimes, checking our emails can become a consuming habit, keeping us from focusing on other tasks or activities. The good news is email addiction can be overcome.

Why are we addicted to email?

Ever found yourself on your email and can’t remember how you got there? You’re not the only one. Compulsive email checking very easily becomes a habit for most of us. Here’s why:

  1. Opening our emails occasionally produces a reward. Everyone loves to get an email about good news.
  2. This reward produces dopamine, releasing a feeling of pleasure or excitement in our bodies.
  3. We continue to check our email. Even the thought of getting a gratifying email releases dopamine.
  4. Triggers relating to email are everywhere, and we give in to them very easily.
  5. Checking email becomes a habit after we repeat it some many times.

We can beat our addiction by changing how we relate to our email.

Be disciplined with your email checking

  • Only check your emails 3 times a day.
  • Organize your inbox. Create folders for your emails, splitting them up based on what you can take care of now, next and later. Archive the rest.
  • Set a limit on the time you spend on your emails. If it takes you an hour to work through your emails, set a timer. Log out when your time is up.

Reduce the size of your inbox

  • Reduce the replies you receive. Before sending an email, think: Is is absolutely necessary? Is email the best channel? If not, don’t sent it.
  • Unsubscribe from junk mail.

Make it harder to check your email

  • Don’t have your emails on a separate tab. If you do, you will provide your brain with those unwanted triggers.
  • Bury the email app on your phone so it’s not on your home screen.
  • Don’t charge your phone by your bed at night. Reduce the chances of late night or early morning email checking.

Minimize email interruptions

  • Use real-time messaging tools to communicate instead.
  • Remove push notifications from your phone and desktop.
  • Use a plugin to send email without accessing your inbox, reducing the temptation to get distracted with mail.

Form new habits

  • Use habit tracking apps to consolidate a new positive habit. Do you normally check your email on your commute? Try listening to a podcast instead.
  • Reward yourself with a treat if you manage to go a day without checking your email more than 3 times.
  • Make your weekends email-free and ask friends and family to help keep you accountable. Try the same with your evenings and mornings.

Managing email addiction means we can get on with the rest of our day, whether that’s work or pleasure. Choose a tip to get started today and make checking email a conscious behaviour again, not something you habitually do every 15 minutes.

Source from Headway Capital

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