What was on your mind before you went to sleep? There’s a 1-in-5 chance that it was something work related. According to more than 3,000 Kensington.com customers, 21% of us are checking our email in bed, within 15 minutes of going to sleep.
Then, after a night of sleep, 18% will have checked email within 5 minutes of waking up. Are they the same people? Is that you? Your sleep tracker app’s bar chart may well give you away!
Our survey results are shown in our day and night work clock. With 40% working an average of 10 hours a day, it is clear that many of us are sacrificing mornings, lunch times, evening and weekends to keep on top of work, and email will be playing a big part of that.
Is it healthy to answer your email upon waking? How many emails have you swiped away in a blurry eyed daze? And is your response really going to be your best and most helpful when you’re in the human equivalent of shut-down or start-up mode?
Email should enable, not control
Celestine Chua over at Lifehacker.org reminds us that email is “a tool to help you do your work and not the work itself.” But it’s hard, isn’t it, to not check your email? You want to be the one that is on top of everything and in control. And if you’re not, you probably want to appear as if you are, and what better way to show your peers than by being über-responsive?
Responding to early-morning and late-night emails
Think about the impact your behavior has on others. Your recipient is likely to have the same outlook and self-esteem desires as you, and respond accordingly. The cycle is self-perpetuating. And what about the impact on your partner? Our 2014 Good Morning America survey reported that 41% of Americans feel the need to wake up, pick up their smartphone or tablet, and interact digitally before communicating with anybody else. You can scroll through this and other fun findings here.
This email routine isn’t restricted to Americans. While 42% of Americans have checked their email within 15 minutes of waking, so have 32% of the British and 33% of Australians. At bedtime, it’s the Australians that are still the most active. Overall, 21% of us check our emails in bed within 15 minutes before falling asleep, with Australians leading the pack at 23%, followed by Americans at 20% and then the British at 18%.
You can download our full Productivity Trends report at Kensington.com/MyBusiness
Radicati Group, Inc., a technology market research firm, expects that email will remain the primary business communication medium in the coming years. They forecast that business email will account for over 132 billion emails sent and received per day by the end of 2017. Their excellent report is available here.
Email and the iPad
The email addiction is exacerbated by smart devices. As we approach the 5th anniversary of the first iPad sale in the U.S., we can also recognize the impact that it has had on our work life. Enablers such as the iPad and the iPhone have connected us more quickly and frequently. For many, this has allowed them to get more done. For others, it is how they say “Good Morning”, and “Good Night”.
I’m going to sit on the fence and proclaim that I say “Good Day iPad”, I turn to it when I need to get things done and my laptop is out of reach or not booted up. I flip open my KeyFolio and deliberate over the response to the email I knew was coming but hoped would not! You’ve all received a few of those. But here’s the rub … it’s how you manage the situation that will be judged, not the speed of your response nor the device you used to respond. In most cases, a short chat will deliver the most constructive and effective resolution.
11 Email Management Tips
If you want to know how to keep on top of your email, Celestine’s advice on Lifehacker.org offers 11 great tips for getting in control.
How has your relationship with email changed since the iPad entered our world?