Are you overwhelmed by email fatigue? If you had to think about that for a minute, you're not alone. With the volume of email showing up in our inboxes, who has time to think about how it makes us feel?
Email fatigue is a real thing. It's caused by the huge amount of spam email popping up in your inbox. Spam email isn't the only culprit. Unread email causes fatigue, too.
In this guide, we'll help you conquer email stress, so you can maintain your physical and emotional well-being. Read on to learn how to organize your email effectively and combat email fatigue.
Understanding Email Fatigue
Remember when you opened your first email? If you were around in the mid-1990s, you probably felt pretty excited to set up your first email account.
Back then, people didn't send and receive the volume of email most of us do today. Businesses hadn't yet figured out the power they held over people when they hit Send.
Today, email fatigue is a pervasive issue.
It's not just about receiving too many emails. There's a negative impact on your well-being associated with what arrives in your inbox almost 24/7.
Understanding the depth of this problem is essential. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. Email fatigue can affect your productivity and overall quality of life.
If You Are a Business This Is for You
We get it. Email marketing is no longer a buzzword. It's a practical, profitable way to share your story with customers.
All businesses send out emails, some multiple times every day.
To help your readers experience your emails as a positive event, you'll want to understand the negative impact too many emails can create. Keep in mind that email overwhelm doesn't just happen to your customers. Your employees may feel that way too.
What happens is this: the emails pile up and soon no one reads them anymore. From a marketing perspective, other than subscribers marking your email as "spam," it's one of the worst things that could happen.
Email fatigue means your subscribers no longer open, read, or respond to your emails. If your staff is doing that, there's a different kind of trouble brewing.
Mental Symptoms Associated With Email Fatigue
Email fatigue can manifest in various ways. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step in combating fatigue.
First, constant email checking disrupts concentration. When something disrupts your concentration, you can't focus. Decreased focus leads to decreased productivity.
You can see why you don't want your staff to experience this, but what about your subscribers? For them, the never-ending stream of messages makes them feel overwhelmed. It can induce stress.
From a personal viewpoint, you don't want email to jeopardize your emotional well-being. But can too many emails really be that bad?
In one study, three university professors found that people who spent too much time after work hours checking and responding to emails felt it caused anxiety. Taking their findings one step further, the professors discovered it wasn't so much about the hours spent reading emails.
Study participants indicated there was an inability to disconnect from work, long after the work day was to have ended. Email is likely only part of the story.
How Much Time Do People Spend Engaging With Email?
It can't be that bad, can it? Surely, people don't spend enough time checking and responding to emails to induce anxiety.
In a 2019 study on email, consumers claimed they spend an average of seven hours a day checking email. This includes five hours for work email, and the balance, on personal email.
There seem to be no boundaries about when and where people engage with their inboxes. Some people check their email first thing in the morning. Others read at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table.
While work emails may be included in these numbers, don't discount the amount of time spent checking your personal email. And as much as we complain about the number of marketing emails we get every day, we often stop, open, read, and take action.
The Toll on Emotional Health Is Real
The emotional toll of email fatigue is significant. The constant barrage of messages can lead to heightened anxiety. Another aspect of the email issue lies in the unread messages folder.
If you're like the average person, you have hundreds, if not thousands, of unread emails waiting for your attention. Some are several years old.
For most people, unread emails, if they think about them, cause feelings of frustration. To whittle the volume down to zero can take hours or even days. No one has that kind of time.
Plus, there's that nagging feeling of leaving something undone.
Over time, anxiety and stress can erode your emotional health, affecting your happiness both in and outside of work. To be fair, let's not put all the blame on emails and email marketing.
There are usually other underlying factors that contribute to emotional well-being. These things are issues best left to mental health professionals. But, there are plenty of things we can do to ease email fatigue.
Read on to explore some of the most effective ways to banish stress caused by too many emails. It's time to gain control of the inbox.
Organizing Your Email Is Step One
Effective email organization is essential for reducing email fatigue. The constant stream of messages can leave you feeling buried. But there's hope.
Using just a few practical and user-friendly strategies, you can take meaningful steps toward regaining control of your inbox(es).
Decluttering Your Inbox
The first step in combating email fatigue is decluttering. Imagine your inbox as a cluttered desk. No one feels productive if they're forced to sift through stacks of paper to find a single document.
You shouldn't have to dig through countless emails to locate important information.
Start by unsubscribing from newsletters you no don't read. Next, delete expired promotional emails. Delete or archive old emails that no longer serve a purpose.
Once you've tidied up your digital workspace, it'll be so much easier to find the essential messages.
Decide on a Way to Categorize Emails
In the middle of email chaos, categorization is the secret to creating order.
Use folders, labels, or tags to sort emails into meaningful categories. For example, create folders for different projects, clients, or departments. The goal is to have a system that allows you to quickly locate specific emails when you need them.
By organizing your inbox in this way, the task of managing emails becomes less intimidating.
Learn to Prioritize Messages
Not all emails need immediate attention. Create a system for prioritizing your messages based on importance and urgency. Labels and flags help because they mark urgent emails.
When you start your email session, first focus on the most urgent emails. It may take some training yourself, but it helps you tackle the most important emails before getting bogged down in the ones that can wait.
An organized inbox gives you a greater sense of control over your digital life. Remember, email fatigue is a common challenge, but you can conquer it with a bit of organization.
What to Do With Those Unread Emails
We've already mentioned the immense stress unread emails can cause. We all have them, so why not deal with them today? Here are a few pointers:
Use the "Mark as Read" feature. If you've glanced at an email and determined it doesn't demand an immediate response, mark it as "read." It's a simple step. This simple step can help reduce visual clutter.
Revisit the email when you have more time.
Do you know how to use the archive function? Another simple, yet effective way to declutter your inbox. Archived emails are still accessible, but not in your face every time you start an email session.
Another way to handle unread emails is to put them on autopilot. You can do that by creating filters or rules.
Here's an example: Start with those newsletters you enjoy reading in your free time. Set up a filter to categorize them and send them to a specific folder. You can access them when you can, but they're not clogging up your inbox.
A Few More Ideas to Help Battle Email Fatigue
Remember, we suggested unsubscribing from the newsletter that you no longer want to read. Why not unsubscribe from other senders that continue to send you emails that you never open? Better yet, avoid subscribing altogether.
Don't feel guilty, you can always re-subscribe later.
Did you know that you can set up filters that direct emails from specific senders to folders for later review? You can also filter by keywords.
Here's a fun idea! You now have permission to delegate tasks from emails to colleagues. This is a great idea for emails that require attention but can't get it from you immediately.
If you're not comfortable delegating, you can still manage these types of emails. Use a task management app to set up reminders. That way, important tasks don't get lost in the inbox.
Set Up a Dedicated Time for Emails
Try to schedule time slots in your day where you only deal with email management. If you stick to the time slots, it allows you to focus solely on your inbox. Whether it's the first or the last 30 minutes of your day, it gives you time to clear out unread emails and deal with the ones that need your attention.
Don't stress about an empty inbox. Inbox Zero is not a feasible goal for every person.
The best way to prevent email fatigue is to work toward a manageable and organized inbox.
Get Rid of Spam Before It Hits Your Inbox
You never need to look spam in the eye again. Use an email filtering program that automatically detects and removes spam emails before they hit your inbox.
If you're using an email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo, you have built-in spam filters. One problem with spam filters is that sometimes they don't recognize spam. Sometimes, they throw legitimate emails in your junk folder.
It's one of the limitations of using a spam filter supplied by your email provider. It does create a problem when you're looking for an important email, but your email program shuttles it over to the spam folder.
A better solution to fight spam is a third-party spam filter. Third-party email filtering services offer advanced spam protection.
When choosing a spam filter, consider your specific needs. Are you an individual user or a business user? Each requires a unique level of protection.
Many of these solutions offer a free trial period. They allow you to try out their service and see if you like it before making a full commitment.
One thing to keep in mind about email filters, both the ones built into your email and those offered by third-party vendors, is limitations.
While many third-party email filters are wonderfully effective, some spam emails may still occasionally slip through and end up in your inbox. Launch a counterattack by not clicking on emails from unknown senders or suspicious links. Be wary of downloading attachments from unknown senders.
Setting Email Boundaries
Setting boundaries is key to managing stress of all kinds. Setting email boundaries is a great defense against email fatigue.
Set clear communication guidelines with colleagues, family, and friends. Avoid being tethered 24/7 to your inbox. It's not a healthy habit.
When you set boundaries, you can reduce email-related stress and maintain a healthier work-life balance.
We Can Help You Fight Email Fatigue
Email fatigue is a serious issue. It can negatively impact your focus and productivity. Even worse, it can affect your mental and emotional health.
If you use the strategies and tools we've shared in this guide, you can take control of your inbox. You may even get reacquainted with peace of mind.
Mailstron offers some powerful solutions to help keep your inbox manageable. We're so confident in the help we have to offer that we're inviting everyone to experience a stress-free inbox for free.
Start your free trial today!