Are you a person who can ignore unread emails in your inbox, or are you in the group that feels you have to take immediate action when an email arrives?
A recent piece by Joe Pinsker in The Atlantic espoused the theory that there are two types of emailers in the world, those who can and those who can’t ignore incoming email. He poses the question, “How is it that some people remain calm as unread messages trickle into their inboxes and then roost there unattended, while others can’t sit still knowing that there are bolded-black emails and red-dotted (email) messages?
To be honest, I didn’t really need to read the article to figure out which group I’m in; I knew as soon as I read the headline. There’s no doubt, I’m in the group that “can’t relax until their inboxes are cleared out.” In fact, I just had to check an email that popped up while I was typing that last sentence.
I also have to admit that this doesn’t just happen when I’m sitting at my computer. Since I’m connected to work email through my smartphone, I’m drawn to check and delete unwanted emails even while away from the office on the weekend or while on vacation.
So, why do I feel compelled to constantly check my email? The Pinsker article cites a study by Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine that speculates that people who feel compelled to check email “may be more susceptible to feeling a loss of control and in missing out on information.” Here I just thought I was hooked on technology; turns out there may be more to it.
What about you? Do you constantly check your email? Are you OK if there’s a red dot with an increasing number on the email icon on your smartphone?