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Learning to Love (or at Least Live With) Email

There are plenty of strategies and softwares designed to defeat inbox overload. But is electronic mail really the enemy we make it out to be?

Lots of us suffer from email overload, but few have taken such dramatic steps to address it as Dan Ariely. He's a behavioral economist at Duke University who was so buried by emails he wrote software to help triage his messages, and uses a two-page auto-response to redirect all but the most important ones.

Rebecca confesses this week that she has 2,026 unread emails. That number might send you into a cold sweat or sound kind of low, depending on what kind of email personality you have. Email is such a universal enemy that strict deletion regimes like Inbox Zero have gained cult-like followings, and office chat apps like Slack hope to make it obsolete. Despite these efforts, email isn't going anywhere, so you may as well learn to deal with it. And there are some things about email you may come to like—or even love.

You spend more time at your job than anywhere else. Each week, Game Plan hosts Rebecca Greenfield and Francesca Levy take a close look at the way we live our lives at work—our frustrations, dilemmas, habits, and anything else that happens in the office.


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