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One digital thing you do every day could be shaving years off your life

If you're anything like me, you don't just do this thing once a day - try once a minute! I'm talking about checking your email.

These days, it seems like you're supposed to respond immediately to every email. I get so many emails that I don't have time to reply to them all, but as you know, I read every one of them. But at your job, you may be required to constantly check your inbox and get back right away to each one. If you log into your computer and see that you have 10, 20 or 30 unread messages waiting for you, you know how dismaying that can be.

But it's not your imagination: Your email account really is putting your mind and body under significant stress. High stress levels are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, mental illness, obesity and a laundry list of other significant health problems. Stress is literally a killer.

In a groundbreaking experiment, UC Irvine researcher Gloria Mark wired U.S. army civilian employees with heart-rate monitors. She measured stress levels when they were checking emails. Then she had them go hours and even days without checking email and watched stress levels go WAY down.

So maybe employees who check their email less often are happier and healthier, but they've got to be less productive, right? Wrong! It turns out that just the opposite is true. Fast Company reports:

In addition to a moody, stressed out workers, Mark has noticed one more thing in her studies on email in the workplace. Although we often feel we’re being productive by answering a barrage of ever-flowing emails, Mark reports participants in her email studies reported their productivity actually improved when email was taken away.

Many reported they switched tasks less often and were better able to focus when their inbox was closed. This is no surprise considering the average worker checks their email 74 times a day, according to Mark’s research. That’s about nine times an hour in a typical eight-hour workday.

Research like this is why several German companies like BMW and Volkswagen have banned after-hours email. In fact, the entire country could soon ban answering emails outside the office.

Folks like you and me can't afford to give up on email entirely, but we can do it smarter. Click here to get a free app for phones and tablets that can help you take control of your email.


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