I don’t know about you, but I get a little twitchy when I see unread messages in my inbox. In fact, I often get an overwhelming compulsion to stop everything and check them out immediately.
After all, my prospects might be ready to close the deal. Or, they have an important question I need to answer right away.
Sound familiar? The truth is, most of us do suffer from email addiction. But in reality, what we’re suffering from is dopamine addiction.
Email addiction is a real problem.
I know. I know. I sound pretty smart with all this brain research I’ve been quoting this past year. But, since it’s highly likely that you haven’t been reading the latest neuroscience studies, let me clarify what I mean.
Dopamine is a brain hormone that starts us seeking — looking out there for something - and keeps us doing it.
If we’re anticipating something AND we’re not sure when it’s coming, our dopamine system is immediately triggered. That’s why we’re compelled to check emails if we’re waiting to hear back from prospects.
Here’s another thing you need to know about our dopamine system. It gets activated when it gets a cue such as a notification or sound.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, we start salivating. We can’t wait a second longer – for whatever it is we’re lusting after. We need to interrupt what we’re doing and find out what just happened.
Are you killing your sales productivity?
The worst thing is, when dopamine takes control of our brains, our productivity tanks. So does is our mental sharpness.
In one study, Dr. Glen Wilson, a psychiatrist at London University, found that constantly checking emails and texts reduced women’s IQ by 5%.
But for guys it was even worse. They lost 15 IQ points. That’s a whole lot worse than the 4 point fall in IQ that you get from smoking pot.
If you want to be a smarter salesperson – and get more done in less time, then you need to kick the email, or should I say dopamine addiction.
Here are several ways I control mine:
First off, batch your email checking. Set a couple times during the day to look at and respond to emails. Believe me, you won’t lose a deal because it took you an hour to respond.
Secondly, turn off all notifications – on both your computer and cell phone. The bings, the music, the numbers. All of it. This has been a godsend for me. I don’t keep checking things any more. Instead, I keep my focus on the work that needs to get done.
Fortunately, the urges do lessen but it’s an ongoing battle that we have to fight one day at a time. Take a stand. Refuse to let dopamine rule your life. It really does make a difference.