When I started sharing with some people what I think about e-mails and their influence in our lives, I got the following feedback: “I’m sorry, but what you are saying makes no sense”. Allow me to explain.
We, human beings, always depend on something. We’re dependent on the things that we have to do. Dependent on things that others have to do.
Regarding ourselves, we are always procrastinating what we have to do and, because of that, our mind makes us check our e-mail, social networks, smartphone, and other things that aren’t really that important (at least, not 24/7).
If you’re checking your e-mail right now, I have one question to you. How do you usually your e-mail? Is it just a communication tool or do you use it to schedule your day and make a to-do list? Here’s a bunch of interesting answers.
Wrapping them all, the problem is that we don’t check our e-mail. It is always open. And the same problem can be applied to social networks, chats, etc. I also believe that if the e-mail is always open, our life is always guided by the notification pressure of a new e-mail or a new fire to put out.
The reason why I don’t check e-mails during the morning
I’m a morning person. That’s the part of the day when I’m more productive and I don’t want my motivation to be affected by the e-mails I received. I also don’t want them to determine what I will have to do during that morning.
Since I want to be more productive and make interesting things in my life, I don’t let my e-mail open anymore. More than that, I only check it twice a day. I check my e-mail every day at 12 p.m. and at the evening.
But why do I choose to do that? Because, when I checked my e-mails first thing in the morning, my morning got full with things that I had to do and fix. Naturally, I wanted to give a quick answer to the people who e-mailed, even if those things weren’t important or urgent.
Since I use Agile as my own work methodology, now what I do first thing in the morning, instead of opening my e-mail, is opening Trello (my task manager), and start making things that really need to be done and that are important and urgent.
I usually start with my most boring tasks. This way I can be the one who controls my professional life. Because I do a weekly plan, I know what I am going to do each day of the week and, as I receive e-mails that require actions from my part, these emails become tasks in my task manager.
Furthermore, I try to let my inbox empty, my notifications turned off and I use apps like Sidekick, Boomerang, Pipedrive and FollowUp.cc to help me organize my email.
P.S.: Oh, if there is a fire that really needs me to put out, it’s easy, they call me.
Another P.S.: Of course this way of work may not be used to all types of work. People from customer care, for instance, should read their e-mails first thing in the morning. It would be a disaster if they don’t.