Why Checking Your Email First Thing Is Killing Your Success

Whoever you are, you have a unique set of skills. You have gifts to give the world. Those gifts are not the art of responding to emails or the knack of forwarding enquiries. Of introducing, responding, carbon copying or checking. There’s more to you.

Nothing is as important as the first thing on your list. The thing you decided needs your full attention at the precious start of your day, when your mind is uncluttered and your energy at its peak. The thing that will make the most difference to your or your business.

Email is simply other people’s priorities, and it can nearly always wait. Nothing should be able to land in your inbox overnight that can disrupt the flow of the next morning. The madness must stop.

Morning routines matter

Whilst researching the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, I asked for responses via Twitter. The question: what’s the first thing you do each day, to set your day up well? The answers included exercise, meditation, journaling and being creative. Many respondents were intentional about how they spent their first few waking hours. Some said they check their email.

I refuse to believe that checking email first thing is the best use of anyone’s time, no matter what their role entails. You have all day to check your inbox, why waste the morning? Why start the day on someone else’s agenda when you could use it to master your time and own the day?

The respondents made it sound intentional. Intentionally checking, instead of intentionally doing what mattered the most. Some said it was for peace of mind, so they could continue with their day safe in the knowledge that nothing required them. Really, that’s a mask. The quality of your time lies in the quality of your boundaries. If your day can be hijacked by anyone, insufficient boundaries exist.

If you can only have peace of mind after checking your email, does that mean you should also check it right before you go to sleep?

Feeling productive

Checking email feels productive because the task goes in the work category of your mind. But it should go in the distraction column along with social media, reading the news and colleagues who want to chatter. You know it’s not what you should be doing but you’re kidding yourself that it matters.

Not only does checking and responding early doors take the place of any deep work: even if your emails don’t require responding to straight away, now you’ve seen them they take a proportion of your headspace. Perhaps a team member has proposed something you’re not keen on, or you’ve been sent a problem to solve. Your attitude and mindset are now affected, impacting whatever you had decided to get done.

As Julia Gifford, founder of TrueSix agency put it, “the first hours of the workday for me are the most valuable ones, where I can get the most done. Giving that time away to reactive tasks like email robs me of the time I can invest on value-added tasks.” Sofie Couwenbergh, founder of Wonderful Wanderings travel blog, who does her most important task in the morning concurs, “[checking your email first thing] takes away your focus from that task and creates a cloud of other things you know you’ll need to tackle hovering over your head.”

There is no email in the world that cannot wait until you’ve produced or created or trained. No inbound message that could stop someone determined to make a difference from making it. Very rarely is anything a true emergency, or even time critical. If it’s truly urgent, they will call or WhatsApp. They’ll find a way. Genuine opportunities can wait a few hours. No one sends an email expecting a reply instantaneously or the moment someone wakes up.

Checking email first thing is self-sabotage; secretly hoping that a distraction appears, bringing a valid excuse for not doing the real work.

A bad habit

Our minds are trained to seek dopamine hits. Short bursts of checking top up levels that have waned. It creates a habit of checking and pursues a continuous drip of information and requests instead of batching it together and keeping it on your terms.

Time spent at the beck and call of others can feel satisfying. You’re needed, you’re wanted, your opinion matters. But it’s shallow and short-term. The long-term goal is that your team feel empowered to get on with their work, and you yours. Collaboration is important and your input is welcomed but no one rushes you for it. There’s a respect of each other’s time and they know you will respond in due course.

If you’re the bottleneck for email-based processes, something else is wrong. If you need to frantically check that something bad hasn’t happened, something else is wrong. If your email inbox is your to-do list, something else is wrong. Processes aren’t established, rushing is present and it’s not good for cortisol levels.

Taking control

Stephanie Dunleavy, cofounder of ecommerce store Soul Analyse, admits “At one point I had no self-control with work. I’d wake in the night to check emails!” Now she has a strict morning routine “that involves zero checking, at least until I’ve started my day on a good note.” Dunleavy knows “if an unwanted email is the first thing you see it’s bound to cause a manic start.” Andy Stubbs, owner of Andy Low ‘N’ Slow, never checks email first thing. “Anxiety for me can be highest in the mornings and I’ve learned that giving myself time before dealing with anything helps a lot. Same before bed, one ‘problem’ can ruin my whole day if I’m not ready to deal with it.”

Email is a poor form of communication. It’s text-based, easily misinterpreted and forwarded, and emails are sent flippantly, piling up in an inbox to its owner’s distress. Productivity experts teach inbox zero, but I propose email indifference.

Notifications off, instant responses never sent, email never checked first thing. A rule about the length of those you send and respond to. Not pandering to “urgent” requests and not letting urgent things go via a nonurgent medium. If you don’t need a paper trail, it’s an irrelevant form of contact. It costs focus, takes over and misses the best parts of interacting with colleagues and partners.

Most Related Links :
Business News Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button