A report out today by Professor Tom Jackson of Loughborough University UK highlights the fact that people are prone to get stressed when reading and sending emails. They appear to be less stressed apparently when retrieving and filing emails messages alone.
Is this something new?
I am sorry but after a life time in the office of corporate and having seen and experienced the transition from paper based communication to email communication these findings really don’t surprise me.
- What it does bring to my mind though is the differences between how you might handle this stress when you are at work versus when you are running a home business
The differences are there for sure.
In the office
If you receive an email which stresses you out:
- You usually have someone to discuss it with.
- You may then be able to get opinions which help you to resolve that stress.
- Or you may be able to go and discuss it with the sender if they are in house.
In the home business scenario
The receipt of an email that stresses you out:
- You are on your own usually or at least until your partner comes home (and then it may not be possible to discuss).
- You can’t get opinions unless you have a network of like minded entrepreneurs.
- It is not likely that you can discuss it with the sender.
So this could mean that the stress will be higher in a home based business situation because of the lack of options open to you.
By the way it was really interesting that in Professor Jacksons report he pointed out that email is no worse than other social media. So maybe we need to find a way of down playing the stress from all communications?
So how to deal with stressful emails.
The rules which I have found to work are as follows:
- Never respond to a stressful email immediately. This is difficult to do but so necessary. Sit and think about it – do something else and let your mind work on it. If you answer it when stressed you are more likely to say things you could regret later.
- Review the email a number of times to see what is really being said. Some emails can be obtuse and not state things clearly. If this is the case don’t answer something that isn’t clear – ask for clarification.
- In order to limit stress limit the number of times you check your emails, OR if you must check them often deal with them once a day. This allows you time to mull over the contents as we said.
- Never get hung up on emails before bed time. We simply don’t because you will then not sleep well and this just compounds the stress thing.
- If all else fails find something to make you laugh – yes laugh. It is a known fact that you cannot laugh and be angry. Stress leads to anger so if you can laugh at something or someone (your young son, daughter, dog, cat), that will help reduce the stress. When you have done laughing see how much easier it is to face that email.
Hope this article helps you in your email stress situations.
Yours in business
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