December 09, 2002
Who's overwhelmed?

A new study says that email overload is mostly a myth:

A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that overwhelming levels of e-mail are quite atypical, an outcome that surprised even the researchers.

"All of the anecdotal evidence you hear from people out there is, `I'm so overwhelmed by the volume of e-mail,'" said Deborah Fallows, a senior research fellow at Pew. "The perception comes from the people who are talking most loudly about it, those few who are most overwhelmed."

In fact 60 percent of Americans who use e-mail at work receive 10 or fewer messages on an average day, the study released Sunday found. Only 6 percent receive more than 50.

And among those power users, only 11 percent say they feel overwhelmed by all the e-mail. Most have found tricks to keep e-mail manageable, such as using software to automatically sort e-mail into folders.

The results counter a myth that employees are inundated by e-mail as they are copied in on every response and are continually sent notes requesting something urgent, finding hours quickly disappearing just checking e-mail.

See? You don't have too much email after all. Now get back to work!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 09, 2002 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack