7 November 2013

What Do You Do First Thing In The Morning?

In the past decade, emails have become a staple in our lives, both in and out of the office. How many of us reach for the phone or tablet to read our emails first thing in the morning? I’ve met many professionals who are guilty of doing this.

The cycle of letting emails dictate your “to-do” list for the day can be overwhelming. From another perspective, why should you fill up your already busy day with other people’s tasks? My friend Steuart Snooks, a productivity expert, has written a very informative series of articles, which addresses these concerns. I have highlighted some of the essential points below.

Starting Your Day Right 

Knowing what you should be doing every morning is a great way to stay focused. One of the issues about checking your email during this time is that it tends to dictate which tasks you will be doing for the day. I’m not saying you should never check your inbox until after lunch. By then you may have missed a few important notifications.

As Steuart Snooks mentions in his article:

Aim to work on the things that are important to you (regardless of their urgency), rather than simply start the day with the urgent (but often less important) items in your inbox.”

Instead of using your email as a way to populate your list of things to do, reach for your own personal calendar or diary. Write down tasks that you want to accomplish first, before adding in other things that people want you to do for them.

Too Much Information Is Bad Information (“Selective Ignorance”)

We live in a period where distractions are present all the time, 24/7. That is not an understatement. Even while you are sleeping, your phone or television can easily distract you from getting much needed rest. Information can also serve as a distraction, if you are bombarded by it.

Although your inbox contains important information about work and projects, it is also filled with random newsletters, spam and irrelevant events. Even if you don’t act on those emails, it’s still taking up space in your mind, which can be very distracting.

An effective technique to help overcome this concern in relation to emails is by setting up filters. Create a “view later” folder and redirect all those marketing emails there for later viewing. After a while, you may even forget about checking the folder altogether! The concept of “selective ignorance” can be applied in other aspects of our daily lives. Examples of these areas are social media, television and even some conversations in the workplace such as gossip and nitpicking.

To conclude, email is a great tool for boosting productivity. With that in mind, it can easily takeover our list of things to do if we don’t take control of how we use it on a daily basis. By applying some of the tips mentioned in the article, you can be sure to stay focused on tasks that matter the most.


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