DON’T Check Your Email First Thing in The Morning


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For the first two years that I was working full time on the Internet I would wake up, have breakfast, turn on the computer and then start checking my emails. I looked forward to it indeed, because checking email was fun. I was able to see all the messages that came via the contact form, emails from business partners and friends, new comments on the blog and the like.

Over time the amount of new messages I had every morning increased, and so did the time required to clean the inbox from new messages. At one point I was spending almost two hours checking my email every morning.

Then one day I realized that such habit was terrible for my productivity. Usually I only started working for real on my projects by 10 am or so. I am very productive in the early hours of the day, and I was wasting that answering to emails….

That is when I switched. These days I always start working on the really important tasks first (e.g., writing content, promoting my websites, building new websites, managing the overall business strategy and so on). Once I am done with those tasks then I allow myself to tap less important stuff, like email and RSS feeds.

Answering to emails won’t make you money. Building and promoting your website will. Guess which one you should do first?

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46 Responses to “DON’T Check Your Email First Thing in The Morning”

  • Pinoy Blog Tips

    Haha i have to agree with you Daniel, answering emails won’t make you money but doing much productive things to your blog will.

  • Latoya

    Good Post! I think you just added an extra 45 minutes to my day with this post lol. Email is the first on my list when I start working in the mornings, but lately I have noticed that I have been wasting a lot of time with it. So it may do me good to put more important task first as well =)

  • Harsh Agrawal

    Daniel nice post. from last one year I have the same habit.. And I got an Email from my friend about this article who is aware of my habit. I agree with you that morning is very productive and I will follow your point 🙂

  • Monevator

    I’ve found from years of working at home that for me the first 3-4 hours of the day are the time to make money.

    Replying to emails can be done in the ‘dead’ zone later.

    Usually I’ll scan for urgent emails first thing, but I’ve structured my life so there’s very, very few of those. Unless I slip, I don’t reply until after lunch to the rest.

  • Melisa

    Very true, esp. if you only have one email account and often receive annoying emails from adult contacts who write as if they were your pampered three-year-old nieces and nephews and forward chain letters that tell you you’d get bad luck should you fail to forward them. ^^ Luckily, I decided to be a chain letter breaker.

    Since reading emails (where you’re often notified of comments if you set your setting to comment moderation) takes too much time, as a blogger how do you deal with posts with lots and lots of legitimate comments? Is it the blogger’s responsibility to respond to these comments?

  • Jan Middleton

    You opened it…yes, you did! That can of worms that no one wants to face is staring at us each and every morning. That computer is calling us with coffee cup in hand to open emails upon emails.

    You are so totally right. I have to stay focused in my most prized, earliest hours of the day.

    Emails can wait until you have done your money making tasks of the day.

    Thx…for opening it. Jan

  • Anand Srinivasan

    Ohw. I should heed to your word now. My inbox is open ALL the time, and I keep refreshing it even when it says zero unread mails..

    I’m terribly addicted :O

  • Jared P Little

    Yea, e-mail can be a hugh time waster. Good advice hard for many to follow. I also tent to check google analytic way too much. Need to limit my time looking at that very soon.

  • Boerne Search

    That is a very good point, when you manage your time around your creative and productive time of the day you or should I say I find myself more relaxed in the evening knowing that I did as much as I could.


  • Ching Ya

    It used to be easy to check and clear the unread messages. Now, it’s tougher. I still do morning check-ups, but instead of managing them I star the important ones and leave it for later if it’s no urgent. Yes, still pretty risky in productive wise. ^^ Shall need to try put priority first before mail-checking.

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • BWI

    I don’t know…I’m kind of addicted to the “You’ve got money”. It’s a nice way to start the day.

  • Bob Bessette

    Hi Daniel,
    I hear what you are saying. I try to check any emails that I deem important and then let the others rest until I have some time on my lunch hour. I also am a morning person and am more motivated early than late. I think I tend to follow your suggestion but there are some emails that I must respond to but I let the others wait…


  • Ben Moreno

    Um, that is short and powerful. I have nothing to say but you are right.

  • Jamal

    Friend you are right but that habit like replying late to emails sometimes give you problems.For example a urgent mail need to be answered late.So better keeping the business and friends emails different.So that time saving will be effective.
    You may also use the idea to look only at subjects that itself clearly tell you whether that mail is important or not.

  • odtaa

    I am trying to cut my addiction to reading emails first thing in the morning and instantly responding throughout the day.

    What I tend to do, well try and train myself to do, is to get some work done like write a couple of posts first, then make a cup of tea, well I’m English, and then I enjoy going through the emails – obviously not as many as Daniels.

    Then, still working on this one, switching off the email system.

    I will look at my emails another two or three times throughout the day. When I can switch them off.

    A few of days ago I wasted a couple of hours trying to help a friend sort out a problem. It would have been quicker to have given him a phone call.

    Also other things to do with emails.

    A lot do not need a response.

    Don’t send one.

    So that they’ll respond to you again.

    and you’ll respond again.

    etc (This rule can be broken if you are in love).

    Also organise your emails properly.

    In a job I’m doing I’ve had about 60 emails going backwards and forwards. About 10 had important information the other 50 were just chat.

    So when I needed an important piece of information from one of the 10 – could I find it? I’ll surprise you – no.

    My October 1st resolution put important stuff in separate folders, like a-pending, (important – check regularly),
    b-pending, (not life and death – check weekly)
    c-pending, (might be useful check weakly and delete if not dealt with within a week).

    I also use the inbox as a super pending system/ control system everything has to be dealt with, transfered to another folder, or deleted.

    That is except for time important emails I leave them in the inbox until I’ve been to the meeting, done the specific task etc.

    As I use gmail I star a few important emails and store them in my standard folders. This is useful for signup details, with username and passwords etc.

    Delete, delete, delete.

    Delete all emails that don’t and useful data in them.

    Ho hum tea break over and I’ve written a post

  • Chris

    I have to say, email is the first thing I check. But I don’t go through it all and clean it out. I open emails that look important and leave the rest for later in the week. Once a week I go through and check more thoroughly and clean it out.

    Someone else mention they aren’t very productive first thing in the morning, and neither am I. So I skim through mail and rss first so I can wake up.

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