Like many of the digital tools that keep us connected (Facebook, anyone?) our relationship with email is pretty complicated. On the one hand, we’re able to stay in contact with loved ones, collaborate with others and get work done quickly. But, on the other, its very utility can easily become overwhelming and addicting.
The first email was sent in 1971, and our reliance on it only seems to be growing. The Radicati Group, a tech research firm, projects that by 2013 people around the world will send and receive a total of more than 507 billion messages every single day — more than double the number in 2009. A 2010 Harris interactive poll, however, found that the most emails an average person could reasonably manage in a given day was 50.
Too much email may not just lead to imagined stress, however. An U.S. Army experiment once found that employees who were forced to work without email for five days reported better focus and improved perceptions about their job performance. But that group also reported feeling more isolated.
This all comes via the Internet education portal master-degree-online.com, which scoured sources including The Atlantic and the Population Reference Bureau to compile a slew of statistics about our relationship with email — all of which are presented in the following infographic. Check it out below for the full report. Then, in the comments, share your best tricks for making email overload more manageable.