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As time management expert Jocelyn K. Glei explains, many people have a love-hate relationship with email, but can’t imagine business or socializing without it. The business world can’t function without email, but if you don’t have a proper handle on it – and most people don’t – you’re likely to find it difficult to work at peak efficiency and productivity. This manual warns that checking your email too frequently interferes with your productivity and your happiness. It also includes scripts that address common email problems. getAbstract applauds time management expert Jocelyn K. Glei’s sensible, practical guide to taming the email monster.

About the Author

Jocelyn K. Glei is the author of three previous books on improving productivity and time management in the workplace. She was the founding editor of


The Electronic Hostage Taker

Email holds almost everyone hostage. Office employees check their email an average of 74 times a day and spend nearly 30% of their time working on emails. Your stress levels increase the more you check your email, yet people return to their inboxes over and over all day long.

The reason is that human beings are hard-wired to seek reward. As in psychologist B.F. Skinner’s 1930s experiment, in which rats received food pellets when they randomly pressed a lever, people are looking for payoffs in their email. An entertaining video or a note from someone with whom you’ve lost touch occasionally interrupts the stream of routine and often annoying emails. Those random rewards fuel the inbox addiction.

Combat “idle email checking” by making a to-do list at the end of each workday. This will start you off the next morning with momentum and clarity. It will help you decide – prior to checking your inbox – how to balance email requests against your plans. “Inbox zero,” the empty inbox, is a futile pursuit. You can’t keep new messages from arriving. You may feel some accomplishment as you whittle away at your inbox, but it’s an illusion ...

Comment on this summary

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    R. H. 3 years ago
    I found a couple of ideas I definitely will try.
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    M. M. 4 years ago
    I greatly appreciate this perspective on email practices.
  • Avatar
    V. M. 4 years ago
    Good opinion

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