November 29, 2021

Advice from therapists: For your relationship with emails

According to the internet, emails make everyone feel "overwhelmed and under accomplished, defeated and deflated." We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

2 min read


The situation: Your boss asks a co-worker on maternity leave to auto-forward her emails to you. That coworker has signed up for every newsletter they’ve ever come across. And now you wake up with 50+ unread emails on a daily basis.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads 'Accepting the panic is the only way you will learn to live with it'-nonprofit humour


The situation: You are your own worst enemy and find yourself doing both, creating an elaborate but potentially effective system to check and respond to emails while also spending two hours writing and rewriting email responses. Your system doesn’t stand a chance.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads  'The problem is you are thinking rations when you are dealing with somebody who is irrational'-nonprofit humour


The situation: Your founder is well known for responding to emails immediately. The culture of the office has now been formed on this response time. It is your first trip home to see your family in two years, and you would like to mute notifications on your Gmail/Outlook app for the weekend.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads 'The best thing a therapist ever told me is that society doesn't need to be the one to  set me schedule. I'm allowed to eat breakfast at 11, go to bed at 1am. There's no correct mold to fit, just find whatever works best for me'-nonprofit humour


The situation: You’ve got a team member who has misspelled your name in every single email, for the better part of a year. She also marks all her emails as ‘URGENT’, and they rarely are. You have never met in person. This weekend is the organisation offsite. The two of you will be sharing a room.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads 'my therapist told me today "you don't have to say yes to every argument you are invited to" and that really sat with me'-nonprofit humour


The situation: It’s 9:00 am, you sit down at your desk, and open up your email.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads 'breath in for 6, hold for 4, out for 2. Repeat'-nonprofit humour


The situation: You started the day by telling yourself you will bring your unread email count down to zero. It is now 8:00 pm and you are nowhere close to achieving it. You think pushing the goal to tomorrow is reflective of personal failure.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads, ' I don't have to believe everything I think, just because I thought it'-nonprofit humour


The situation: Your co-worker is notorious for never responding to texts or emails. She is having a particularly busy week, and is setting up an out-of-office auto-response so that people know to expect a delay. In that response, she would like to direct people to your email, if they do not hear from her.

The advice:

A screenshot of a tweet that reads, 'You can empathize with someone without making it your responsibility to change how they feel'- nonprofit humour
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India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online media platform for leaders in the development community. Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis, and lessons from real-world practice.