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You’ve got (too much) email. Is it time to let it go?

Light illuminates a woman or girl’s face as she looks at her phone while surrounded with computers, phones and other technology.
Daniel Hertzberg
Special to NPR

American workers receive an average of about 120 emails every day. Some of those messages might be important — but there’s also junk mail, social media notifications, phishing attempts, crypto schemes, promotional messages and log-in alerts. It’s no wonder that more people are sounding the alarm about email fatigue.

Research shows that frequent email checking can lead to higher levels of anxiety. Email notifications affect productivity too. A case study by Loughborough University found it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from being interrupted by an email.

Ian Bogost, a Washington University professor and contributing writer to the Atlantic, is finished with email. In his latest essay for the Atlantic, he describes checking email as a source of daily torment.

“We get too much email from too many different sources. There's no way to keep track of it all,” he said. “It is just not possible to manage — something has to give.”

Bogost joined St. Louis on the Air to make the case for why it’s time to give up on email entirely. He also digs into the history of email, its evolution and how we can better use text communication tools in ways that benefit our lives. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcast, Spotify or Google Podcast, or by clicking the play button below.

Wash U’s Ian Bogost says ‘It’s time to give up on email’

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Roshae Hemmings is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.