We are social beings, you and me. We evolved to live in groups and create connections with tribe members.
Technology advancements since caveman times mean we have myriad ways to connect to others, email being one of them.
Our primal brains seek the same connections they always have. Whilst we can rationalise that our overflowing inbox can wait, evolution is telling us that these people are tribe members who need our help. Every single ping feels like someone trying to get our attention, waving and shouting until we cave.
It’s no wonder the modern office worker is addicted to email. It’s no wonder we check email hundreds of times per day, including first thing. We want to help people, we want to be needed, we want to connect with our tribe and we want the approval of its people.
The email sender isn’t demanding a response immediately, if at all, but the recipient feels a pang of obligation. An instinctive draw.
Evolution can serve us well or it can keep us using old rules for new games.