Are You Suffering From Email Overload?

In: BlogDate: Mar 05, 2019By: Claire Lickman

In 2012, office workers spent an average of 13 hours a week replying to emails — and with statistics reporting that in 2018 approximately 281 billion emails were being sent everyday, this number is only likely to increase.

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Many people on our courses report feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails in their inbox, and that managing this takes up a huge chunk of their day.

Here are our three top tips to beat email overload and take control of your inbox in 2019.

Use other methods of communication where possible

This might sound obvious, but sending an email to someone is only likely to generate another in response. I’m sure that many of us are guilty of sending an email to someone rather than picking up the phone or going to the other side of the office, but other forms of communication, such as using Skype for Business, Slack, arranging a quick ten-minute meeting or just picking up the phone, are often much faster. Plus, this saves the ‘back and forth’ of email discussion when a response just raises more questions — or the subsequent misunderstandings that can arise from written communication.

Try the 321zero method

Many people use their inbox as their ‘to do’ list, but this is never a good idea — it creates a never-ending task list and also makes it hard to prioritise your workload. Instead, Happy’s Chief Happiness Officer, Henry Stewart, recommends the 321zero method. Turn off your email notifications and check your inbox three times a day. Set a timer for 21 minutes and clear your inbox to zero. In those 21 minutes, all emails that need to be actioned are moved into a Tasks folder, while any that simply need a response, or can be resolved within a couple of minutes, are done.

Check your inbox after 11am

We recommend using the ‘eat four frogs’ method — set a to do list each day with three or four things that you need to do that day. Only check your email inbox at 11am once you have completed at least one of these things, this should be the hardest thing on the list, or the item that you’re dreading doing. By doing this, you will feel like you have accomplished something early on – and as a result, your inbox isn’t able to distract you from getting things done.

There will always be interruptions to your day, and also things which are out of your control, but by using these methods, email shouldn’t be one of them!

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Learn More in Our Outlook: Beating Email Overload Live Online Learning Course

Are you struggling under the weight of email? This session will give you practical, technical tips to manage your mailbox better but will also cover behaviours that can help you and your colleagues to lighten the load.

This 90 minute live online training session will improve your productivity at work by providing a range of practical tips for better mailbox management. 

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Claire Lickman

Claire is Head of Marketing at Happy. She has worked at Happy since 2016, and is responsible for Happy's marketing strategy, website, social media and more. Claire first heard about Happy in 2012 when she attended a mix of IT and personal development courses. These courses were life-changing and she has been a fan of Happy ever since. She has a personal blog at

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