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7 tips of handling your Emails without feeling overwhelmed

7 tips of handling your Emails without feeling overwhelmed

Our lifehack.org reader, Roman Rytov asks an interesting question on email management. Roman starts with an example from David Lorentzo where David has gone to the extreme and plans to delete all of the cc’ed emails in his inbox:

Hi folks,

Wonder what your opinion on the matter is.

David Lorentzo suggests getting rid of a Blackberry and delete immediately emails where he’s simply CC-ed as means of taming the email monster. I feel it’s too drastic and impractical and contemplate on possible solutions on the existing problem of email overload

How do you manage your hundreds of emails? Would you mind to comment or post your own recipe of success?

Thanks,

Roman Rytov

I think because we are in 21st century, it is normal that everyone has hundreds of emails daily – and I am not an exception. The amount of emails mean that people are moving their communication channels to email. Once in a while I feel overwhelmed with emails, but most of the time my inbox is manageable. I do not feel the technology of email gives us trouble – it is a very productive tools if you (and other people) use it correctly.

Emails that are cc’ed to you are similar to other emails, and I consider those are not as important as the ones sending to you directly. In here, I will put cc’ed emails into factors and introduce seven tips that I setup and use daily to overcome the flood to my inbox:

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  • Use filtering and use it extensively. I filter everything except emails which are sent to me directly. Yes, filter all of your organization memos; filter all your mailing list emails; filter all your emails which are cc’ed to you. This way they cannot clutter your Inbox and you can choose to not read them. In regards to the email server setup: The organization that I work for uses a IMAP server with a server-side filtering system – after I setup the filters, everything will be in folders already, no matter which email client I use.
  • Filter specific sender out from the inbox. Have you identified someone who like to send/forward you emails regardless if the material is relevant to you or not? Blacklist them by filter them out into a special folder. You don’t want to read them immediately.
  • Schedule fixed time to review the folders. Ask yourself a question – if you are not reading the email in X hours, can you still perform your work? If you can, then schedule your email folders review in max X hours. Especially with cc’ed and memos, you are being informed, and you are not obligated to reply the sender. Pace your time and get informed with the emails only if you have a chance.
  • Read emails as a thread. An universal rules: If an email has more to: and cc: recipients, it attracts more replies. When you view them as a thread, you can get the information and conversation at once.
  • Don’t answer every emails, especially if you’re cc’ed. I think reading email does not require a lot of time – the time usually being used when I need to reply the email. I need to think, I need to write, I need to review. So don’t reply except you really need to. If you are cc’ed, by the logic you are only being informed.
  • If you cannot reply the email immediately, move it to a @Reply folder. After you read an email, you need to reply the sender but you cannot do it right now – why not flag it by moving to a different folder. At that point of time, you already filtered the email in your mind. If you do not act on it by moving it into a different folder (such as @Reply), you need to come back and differentiate what you need to reply with other emails – you will spend double of the time on mind-filtering it again.
  • If you cannot read the email immediately, move it to @Read folder. Similar reason as the previous tip, if you read briefly and you’ve declared an email as a “read-later” type of email. Don’t mind-filter it again, do a manual filtering by moving it into a @Read folder, and then schedule a reading time on that folder and read it all at once.

I hope these tips from my still-improving email system can help you in some ways. Of course some tips may suitable to you – some may not. But if you have something that works for you already, please comment here to help others!

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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