Even though many of our jobs require connecting with clients and coworkers via email throughout the day, that constantly-flooded inbox often does more damage to our productivity than we realize. A 2012 report from the McKinsey Global Institute found that we spend 28 percent of our work week dealing with email. We see an unread message and jump instantly to respond, taking more than a full minute to bring our attention back to the original task at hand.
James Hamblin, a senior editor at The Atlantic, feels our pain. And in today's "If Our Bodies Could Talk" video post, he shares his solution for putting an end to our email distractions once and for all.
"Right now you get a big long email, and it's like a homework assignment, right?" Hamblin says. "You're requiring that I write to you back. Having to think of something clever every time you reply to an email? Ugh. Oy. It's giving me back pain just thinking about it. I have emotional back pain. "
While in real life a simple smile or head nod can acknowledge what another person has said, we lack a way to do so over email.
"What I would like to see is a button on email that just says 'star' or a smiley face or a thumbs up," he says. "If someone is looking to be liked, they'll interpret that as liked. If someone is looking for acknowledgement of receipt, they'll interpret that as acknowledgment of receipt. If someone is looking for you to verify plans that you made, they'll interpret that as verifying plans that you made."
When it comes to naming the button that will solve all of our email etiquette problems, Hamblin keeps it simple.
"Thumbs up is already taken," he says. "Star is already taken. But what's not taken? Cool. You just 'cool' things."
Check out Hamblin's "Email Is Ruining Us: A Brilliant Solution" video below.