The Zero Inbox Syndrome – Is it good?

In my corporate job I suffered from the “Zero Inbox Syndrome”. I was always on lookout of the alert from Outlook for any new emails and within seconds I would respond to that email leaving whatever work I had on my hand. I liked the status of my Inbox being “Zero”. I enjoyed the popularity of being the “responsive HR”. Little did I know that this could be one of the cause for the constant fatigue I was facing in both personal and professional life.

Brain spends a lot of energy in switching from one task to another. When I am doing something as critical and important as processing the payroll brain needs full focus on that particular task. The “tring’ from my computer would switch my attention to the email and I would immediately get into the mode of the senders request/ complain/ escalation was. Spend great deal of energy coming out of the payroll task and getting into handling the complaint through email. I would slip into getting into mail trails from managers, from Admin or from Finance whatever the issue at hand would need to be dealt with. After spending half an hour and struggling through emails and making couple of phone calls, I would be satisfied of getting the solution to the problem/ complain. With great pride I would respond to that email which had drifted em away from my Most important task for the day “payroll processing”.

Years later while delving deeper into the subject of Neuroscience I realised that the atrocities my brain was executing through while switching from one task to another. The fatigue created due to attention shift from task to task is bound to create errors in your work.

There is a simple solution to this – have specific slots dedicated for checking your emails, may three or four as per the nature of your work. Decide to give 100 percent to emails during this slots. This way you will save yourself from draining your energy and also lesser error at work.

Happy Single tasking 🙂