You get up and maybe you aren’t even out of bed yet, or really even awake, but like some gun slinger in a West World you reach for your phone and check your email (after checking Facebook, of course). Does this sound like you? Do you think this practice is giving you the upper hand? You and I both know that’s not the only time you’ll be signing on for the day; there will be more, and if your worst fears are realized and there is important news you must deal with, your entire morning is a bust.
Change your morning routine.
I’ve just instituted a new practice: I do not check my inbox during the first hour of the day. Instead, I write e-mails (without checking the inbox first), make phone calls, and I take on the tasks that require my most creative and focused problem solving energy. An hour may seem indulgent, but it goes by faster than you think. To my surprise, the world hasn’t imploded since I started doing this. Turns out the terribly important thing at 8 am can wait until 9 am.
Even if emailing is a part of what you wish to do with your morning, perhaps type out yours thoughts even before checking your inbox. I’m co-owner of a small business and not a day goes by that e-mails aren’t a part of my routine, but I can get carried away so easily with the unexpected mission my inbox brings and sometimes it leads me to neglect the larger undertakings at hand.
Staying on task is the biggest obstacle one can face in our fast-paced electronic age. Never mind social media, news, and pictures of kittens, just your inbox alone can be a landmine of distractions. So, give yourself the time you need before venturing into the electronic jungle of communication, demands, and requests.
Some people are creative in the morning and others at night. I think most of us can be creative whenever we put our minds to it, whatever the distraction is can destroy initiative, even if the distraction is more work.
If you wake up with the determination to get something done, nothing makes you lose steam faster than having to reply to coworkers, answer benign questions, or plough through a bunch of emails.
Relish your mornings.
I don’t know about you, but every morning feels like a reset. It is a renewal. When I’m rested, and even if I’m not, I know I have a long list of things I hope to accomplish that day. If you wake up with the determination to get something done, nothing makes you lose steam faster than having to reply to coworkers, answer benign questions, or plough through a bunch of emails. Dear God, there aren’t enough filters to sort through all these tangential correspondences.
I realize it’s not always feasible or practical, especially if the important task of the day is replying to an e-mail, but if better time management is a thing you have yet to master and desperately want to improve upon, why not give it a try?