Ignore email, be more productive at work

A new study suggests that ignoring email makes you more productive:

In the study, a group of 13 volunteers vowed to go on a no-e-mail diet for five days, with all new e-mails received during that period bypassing the inbox and a rule against sending any new e-mail. Researchers monitored both the heart rate of participants as well as the activity on their computer screens during the e-mail vacation and during a three-day control period of e-mail use.

While heart rates remained virtually the same—they were actually a bit higher, which the researchers attributed to an increase in reported away-from-desk activity—the concrete benefit was that the workers spent almost twice as much time in each window on average (over two minutes per windows without e-mail, versus 75 seconds with it) and switched windows half as much (18 times per hour on average without e-mail versus 37 with it). These results suggest that having no e-mail to attend to improved workers’ attention spans and made their days less intense.

I’d suggest that employers stop relying so much on email. It’s not a project management tool.