Unsubscribe | Jocelyn K. Glei

Summary of: Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done
By: Jocelyn K. Glei


In this summary of ‘Unsubscribe’ by Jocelyn K. Glei, we delve into the email epidemic affecting productivity and happiness in today’s fast-paced world. The book offers practical insights on overcoming email anxiety, avoiding distractions, and focusing on meaningful work. Through understanding the psychological effects of email and developing efficient habits, readers can boost productivity and reduce stress. We’ll explore how to prioritize tasks, maintain quality communication, and strike the right balance between email management and work.

The Addictive Email Culture

Do you check your inbox more than once a minute? If so, you may be more addicted than you think. The average office worker checks their inbox 74 times a day. The very act of checking email is addictive since each unread message holds out the promise of a pleasant surprise. Our addiction comes from a primal impulse to seek out positive rewards. However, email also provokes a progress paradox; we trick our brain into feeling productive by reducing the number of messages in our inbox, but accomplishing nothing important. Getting that number of unread emails to zero is an almost irresistible reward that fools us into thinking we are making significant progress.

The Unwritten Rules of Email

Email communication lacks tone and body language, leading to a negativity bias where the reader assumes negativity in the message. The rule of reciprocity, where people feel compelled to respond positively, has become impossible to follow due to the overwhelming amount of emails received. The 1970s experiment of sending 600 strangers Christmas cards proved the desire to reciprocate, but now with the ease of electronic communication, it has become impossible to keep up with the rule of reciprocity. This leaves people feeling frustrated, guilty, and ashamed.

Regaining Control of Your Email

The reader is given actionable steps to take control of their email, such as identifying meaningful work, writing it down, and prioritizing it. The more emails one sends, the more they will receive. By focusing on meaningful work, one can direct their attention and avoid wasting time on irrelevant emails.

Optimize Your Email Time

Email can quickly become a time-consuming distraction, but creating a daily routine can help you efficiently manage your inbox. Starting your day with meaningful work for the first 60-90 minutes can prevent wasted time responding to irrelevant messages. It’s important to batch your emails and only check them two to three times a day to reduce stress and increase productivity. A healthier approach to email management can lead to a more fulfilled work-life balance.

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