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Stop checking your email. Really.

Ever felt like you can't get through the workday without something popping up on the screen and killing your flow? An email pops up, or you get a Facebook notification, or a link on Twitter just calls out to be clicked?

If that sounds about right, you are certainly not alone. Gloria Mark is a researcher at the University of California Irvine, where she studies how office workers can do their thing more efficiently.

She says the ideal work setting is one "where people would focus on one task for a period of time, where they could take short breaks every so often."

One of her short break recommendations might come as a surprise: Facebook. Mark explains that it's all about the quickness of your time on the social network.

"Facebook does not require a lot of focus," she says. "It's very different from a face-to-face interaction, which requires a bit of a commitment. The more of these small interactions through Facebook, the happier people are at the end of the day."

Email, on the other hand, can be a momentum killer. Mark says that's because they take too much time. Emails often contain a request: "Please explain X, or please take care of Y." They make you busy, but not happy.

"We did a study where we cut off email in an organization for five days. We found that without email, people were significantly more focused, and they were significantly less stressed."

The reason why: Without emails, the office workers in her study spent more time talking face-to-face. Stopping by someone's office or stepping out for a coffee is a great way to give your brain a rest. So cut out the email if you can, she says. It'll make you happy. 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Set your email client to only check for new mail every 30 minutes. That way you are not constantly bombarded by email.

j.

I so agree, I advise clients to remove the Reply All button when trying to control email.

How exactly do you remove the 'reply all' button? Or do you mean you advise that they just not /use/ it?

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