When you first wake up, it is tempting to take control of the day by checking your email and putting out any potential fires. Don’t. In fact, to paraphrase LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, it is sometimes wiser to let fires burn.
Keep your email checkin until after you have your morning coffee (which should be a little later in the day, anyway). There are three definitive reasons why.
It’s rarely urgent
Try this: The next time you get an urge to check your email, see how many emails are so urgent that they couldn’t wait until five minutes later. How about an hour later? As Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker put it, modern media is designed to be addictive and urgent. It is often the former and rarely the latter.
It makes it less about you
Missing an email may miss an opportunity, but it shouldn’t, as it means that you are the bottleneck in your business. If you want a sustainable business, then you need to create systems that allow you to not always be on – not only for your 100-year plan, but for you to realistically step away for breaks, vacations and even sickness. Even if you are flying solo, you can still easily bring in a social media manager, a virtual assistant or other support.
It helps you manage your time
Email, by nature, is reactionary: Someone has contacted you and you have to respond. How many times have you did an email check, planned a quick response – and looked up to noticed that the morning was already gone? I have. The best thing you can do is schedule your email checks as well as you plan the rest of your day. The easiest solution I’ve found is to push email checks until mid-morning, well after my personal and professional agenda is already underway.
Many a successful founder have left their inbox alone until the most important tasks are done. There are exceptions to not checking your email first thing after waking up, but leaving the inbox alone should be your default every morning.