You've got email-related heart problems!
You know that sound email makes? If you're in a room full of people and a single iPhone makes that telltale chime, everyone jumps up to check his or her messages.
Doesn't matter that it's a weekend. Doesn't matter that it's late at night. Doesn't even matter that you're on vacation.
Thanks to email, we're on the clock everywhere and at all times.
It's great for your boss, who now has a small army of 24-hour employees. But it's not so great for you or your family, because along with intruding into your private time all those emails are actually bad for your health.
You've probably already suspected that, but a new study confirms it as researchers say people who check email all the time have higher levels of stress, and less focus.
The researchers asked 13 civilian workers at the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center near Boston to wear heart monitors as they went about their normal routine for three days.
And sure enough, the monitors picked up on what you've probably experienced yourself -- that little bump in your heart rate with each new message.
Then, they were told to take a five-day email vacation. They could use computers and do their jobs as usual, but without email. And in that time, the volunteers had more constant and natural heart rates.
They also reported less stress, fewer interruptions (naturally), and more of an ability to focus on their work than when they were constantly checking and replying to email.
The study participants were recruited from nearly every level -- including managers, administrators, scientists, and customer service. And at the end of the study, only the customer service worker said she had a hard time doing her job without email.
The rest said they didn't realize how unimportant most emails really were.
Of course, no one's going to give up email completely. But you might want to give it up at least some of the time -- maybe even set aside certain times of each day for checking email, and lay off it the rest of the day.
Especially when you're at home.