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I’ve been working on creating a new habit recently in my work life.
I’ve read about this habit many times online and in business books. It’s been noted as one of the common key habits of successful entrepreneurs.
Mastering this one simple habit has the power to truly revolutionize my business and my life.
What is this habit?
The one habit that has the power to revolutionize your business is this:
No checking email first thing in the morning.
There are three main groups of people who are not following this habit.
1. Some people wake up, roll over and grab their phones, and proceed to open their email.
2. Others open their computers and browse through their email as they eat breakfast.
3. Still others get to work, sit down at their computers and open their email as their first task of the work day.
I’ve done all of these things, but I’m usually part of the 3rd camp.
Why is this not ideal?
Checking your email first thing in the morning or as your first task in your work day immediately gets you stuck in the downward spiral of email mania.
Emails don’t quit coming in.
You’ll read one and get another unread one in it’s place.
Many times I’ve sat down at my desk to “quick check my email” only to look at the clock 2 hours later and I’m still trying to get them all read/sorted.
Yes, our email needs to be tended to, but not right away at the start of our work day.
So, what is a better plan for handling your email?
Here’s the habit I’m working on creating – the habit that truly has the power to transform my workday.
When I sit down at my desk at the start of my workday, instead of opening my email, I do the most important tasks of my day first.
Before reading anything online.
There is always one or two tasks in my day that I NEED to get done. They are the “Big Rocks” in my day that require attention and devoted time to accomplish.
They might be editing a wedding or designing a wedding album. Maybe they are writing a freelance article or submitting my work for publication.
Sure, it’s easier to open email and delay starting those big tasks for a while.
But without fail, if I start with email, I spend the rest of my day scrambling, trying to find time to accomplish those big things, and I get to the end of the day drained and exhausted, often without having accomplished them at all.
– – –
So, for the last few weeks, I’ve been trying my absolute hardest to put this No Email First Thing practice into play.
I wait to open my email before I take a break for lunch, or once I’ve finished my major tasks for the day.
It’s not easy for me. I’ll be brutally honest and say I often sneak a peek at my email on my phone, only to remind myself to shut the app and focus on my breakfast.
Or I quick open up gmail on my desktop, only to force myself to close it before I can get fully sucked in.
But by continuing to make a conscious effort to start my day with my Big Rocks, I’m starting to form a habit.
Practice makes perfect. I’m confident that after awhile, it won’t be a struggle anymore. I’ll instinctively gravitate toward working on my major tasks first, knowing I’ll handle my email when I’m finished.
I’m not there yet, but I’m headed in the right direction.
– – –
Have you made it a habit to tend to your most important tasks first?
Do you have any tricks that helped you form this habit so it sticks? I’d love to hear!
Such a true post! I go back and forth not checking email first and then falling back into the trap. I am a morning person and we all have most will power first thing in the morning. I try to knock out some writing first thing in the morning. Or when I was learning some new skills I did a “power hour” where I spent the first hour of my day practicing those skills. It really does set a different tone for the day! Thank you for the reminder!
Laura Radniecki says
I understand the back and forth struggle! I go through that inner fight daily! 🙂
I love your ‘power hour’ idea!! What a great way to devote focused energy and time to something!