Yes, you read that title correctly. We’re all guilty of this – wake up and your hands are already reaching for your phone. Think about it, it’s like our brains are no longer telling our limbs to grab the phone – it just does it. Crazy. But it’s true.
I’m pretty sure that checking our email before even going to the bathroom or brushing our teeth has moved to the number one thing to do when our eyes open. I think to some degree this “new norm” of checking our phones first thing is understandable – but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Yes, we are living in a world that is driven by technology 24/7. But what a lot of us don’t realize, is how this simple reflex can set us up for failure for the rest of our day.
Checking your email first thing in the morning can set us up for chaotic, less productive work days. I’ve learned to look at my emails as everyone else’s To Do List – FOR ME. But if I direct my time and energy first thing to everyone else’s emergencies and needs, I’m diverting MY time and energy away from MY priorities.
You need to start YOUR morning in the driver seat. Re-read that please. Say it out loud. This allows you to reduce stress and enhance productivity – methodically and intentionally deciding how you’ll allocate your time and energy, and obsessively monitoring email can very easily (and far too much) sabotage your ability to do that.
Consider these scenarios:
- You’re scanning your email while drinking your morning brew. You see this email from a colleague that’s worded curtly. Your immediate reaction is to draft in your head a way to respond and you’re re-playing the day prior. Now you’re incredibly aggravated and your morning call with your mom is rushed and harsh. All because you quickly read an email first thing in the morning.
- Your daily morning walk is your time to slowly wake your body up, but because it’s your time alone you’ve made it a habit to checking your email on your phone at the same time. This morning on your walk you’re so happy you checked it because you have a HIGH level email from your boss regarding a client deliverable. You happily respond because you know it gives you more time on something else. However, when you get to the office you receive an email from your boss that you actually sent over the wrong information. Good luck explaining that one.
I know it’s natural to check your email before or while brushing your teeth. However, it’s a habit that you really need to cut out. You should be starting your days off on your own terms. If you don’t, you are (without realizing it) giving up your control and allowing outside factors to determine how your day will unfold. Starting your day in response mode takes away the majority of productivity because you no longer are going by your own goals and priorities – instead you’re going by the “To Do List FOR YOU BY EVERYONE ELSE”.
Check out this post if you’re interested in starting your day off a little differently.