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Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in our experience of work and personal lives. The 24x7 use of mobiles, the never-ending emails, are in one form or another impacting our lives as never before. The boundaries between work and home life are becoming less clear.

Advances in technology mean that more of us are bringing personal devices into work, accessing social media and living an online experience that crosses the work/home divide. The collision of these two domains brings both advantages and challenges.

The growth of emails, since its creation in the 1970s, has been unprecedented. And though it does facilitate quick and easy communication between people across borders and time zones, for both business and personal use, for some individuals and employers, it can be a source of frustration, anxiety, and lost productivity. As the volume of email continues to rise, many struggle to prioritise work effectively and are constantly interrupted by the flow of messages and demands, resulting in decreased productivity and stress.

A new research says people who automatically receive emails on their mobile devices report high levels of ‘email pressure’. The survey of about 2,000 residents in United Kingdom by Future Work Centre, which conducts psychological research about people’s experience of work, found "a strong significant correlation" between getting push emails on the phone and feeling the pressure to remain connected at all times.

Researchers at the Centre explored whether factors such as technology, behaviour, demographics, work-life balance, and personality play a role in perceptions of email pressure and in coping strategies. “We found a strong relationship between using ‘push’ email and perceived email pressure. This means people who automatically receive email on their devices are more likely to report higher levels of email pressure,” the researchers said.

So, the key to happiness may be switching off email notifications on your smartphone.

People who leave their email on all day were much more likely to say that they experienced email pressure. Checking email earlier in the morning or later at night is also associated with higher levels of email pressure. And, according to the study, managers experience higher levels of email pressure than non-managers.

Personality plays a key role in determining how much email pressure one feels and the extent to which it interferes with work-life balance.

“You may want to consider launching your email application when you want to use email and closing it down for periods when you don’t wish to be interrupted by incoming emails. In other words, use email when you intend to, not just because it’s always running in the background,” the researchers said.

Some others suggest an email curfew; Paul Ainsworth writes in The Telegraph, "Why not stop servers pushing emails after 6 pm until 7 am the next day?" So, if you haven't already made a New Year's resolution, how's this for inspiration? Why not take it off your phone while you still can?

Or, better still, just go full delete and live your life.

-- Editor

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