What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office or start your work day? Is it check email? Please don’t!
Don’t waste that precious time when you first get in the office! Use it wisely.
Does checking email really make you productive or just reactive to what other people want you to do. Sure you need to be responsive to emails but does it have to be the first thing you do.
I find the morning time to be the only time I have to really push on big projects.
Email is not a productivity tool. It is simply a way to commute with people. You wouldn’t consider a telephone a productivity tool – would you? Then why do so many people use their inbox as a to do list.
Sure you need to read emails and listen to phone messages but why have the first thing you do when you get in the office be to check email.
Give yourself an hour in the morning to do something really important. Make the time to move that big project along.
What are the important things you should be checking when you get into the office:
- Check your Calendar – You need to check this one. The other day I made the mistake of not checking my calendar first thing and I got sucked into a phone call with a client. After I got off the phone I glanced at my calendar and saw I had a 10:00 mtg and realized I had to prep a few documents for that meeting. I should have just let the call go to voice mail and returned it later.
- Check your Priority List – What is that you ask. You should have a to do list of priority tasks that need to happen now. It’s a reduced list from your next action lists. Most apps have this feature and you should look for this feature when buying an app.
Once you have these reviewed spend the first hour tackling something from your priority list.
Is one of your priority items stuck because you are waiting for something from someone? If the answer is yes then you need to do a quick scan.
This is a really a quick scan of email – remember don’t get sucked in.
- Look for email sent only to you. Chances are that if you are on the cc list that this really isn’t that important to you. If you use outlook you can have the program highlight emails with only you in the To: box with a color. Here’s another great post on setting up email in Outlook.
- Look for the subject of the email sent. Is it related to one of the projects you are about to work on?
- Look for emails sent from your boss. Maybe your boss had a great idea last night and wants to share it with you.
I’m at my peak when I first get in. in fact I’m usually in about a half hour earlier than anyone else. It gives me a chance to breath and focus on important projects.
Let’s talk more about this on Twitter.