Previously we covered our top five tips for getting back more time in your day. Of these five, one unsurprisingly proved more controversial than the others – namely my encouragement to not check your emails until mid-morning.
All week I’ve been discussing with clients and colleagues the responses I’ve had to this one – ranging from ‘Great idea’ to ones suggesting I’m not being at all realistic! So why is it that this tip got people so interested? Think how life has changed since you first got email and answer me honestly when I ask you ‘How many times an hour do you check your email?’
I know many people who check it when they wake up, at the table at meals, last thing at night and see it as a normal part of their day. Others may go as far as arguing they’re actually addicted but I prefer to think they’re conscientious and worried about missing something important. Either way, it’s a problem when you can’t stop checking.
If I asked you when the last time was that you had an email that was such a genuine emergency that you really needed to drop everything that second and react, could you remember? I’m not talking about somebody else’s perceived emergency, only something that will have terrible consequences if you don’t jump to it now. I bet most of you can’t remember and some of you never have. Would someone not call you if it was really urgent? I now I would!
So if not checking your email until mid-morning allows you to tackle the big jobs you planned the night before, is that wrong? Brian Tracy’s book ‘Eat That Frog’ advocates tackling jobs you don’t want to do first thing and then the rest of the day seems easier. It’s a great strategy for tackling the procrastination that occurs when you start reading your emails first thing instead. It’s one I’ve implemented and it’s worked wonders for me so before you jump to conclusions about how it wouldn’t work for you, I’d like to challenge you to try it for a week and then let me know again what you think. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on!