Why You Shouldn’t Check E-mails as 1st Thing In The Morning

A lot of successful overachievers in the world have one thing in common that separates their days from the rest – They have a morning routine.

A morning routine just doesn’t mean waking up, bathing and going to work. A morning routine sets up your day for success and focus like no other.  The most popular book in this space is the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which outlines six principles called the S.A.V.E.R.S.

PS : I have personally followed this and it works wonders!

1.     SilenceMeditation for at least 15 minutes and like Bruce Lee said in his famous video “Emptying your mind” and making your head clear.  Meditation has a lot of positives and keeping your mind fresh is probably the most important thing.

2.     Affirmation  – You encourage yourself with positive thinking and words. Think of this, as something a boxing coach would tell a boxer before a fight. We are our biggest supporters and talking to yourself with positive words would give you the necessary push to start off the day well.

3.     Visualization  – Picturing yourself as successful and in the place you want to be. Some successful people are called visionaries, because they can think of what the future looks like and go execute their dreams. Visualizing helps everybody focus on a very clear goal.

4.     Exercise  – Working up your heart rate and pushing yourself, so you can be physically and mentally prepared for bigger tasks in the day. There are about a million articles that talk about the benefits of exercise. But one thing I would say is exercise helps in creating new neurons in the brain which help you learn faster and quicker. The first step to curing depression is exercise.

5.     Reading – Going through fives pages of an inspiring book. Reading some inspirational content first thing in the morning really perks you up, and this is a book or article chosen by you.

6.     Scribing  – Getting your creative juices flowing and putting your thoughts in to words. Successful people put work out there. Writing helps you channel your thoughts and put it out in a meaningful manner. It also helps in validating your thoughts, when people appreciate your work.

Now what do all these above points have in common?

These are things that you want to do and it isn’t a reaction to something else.  Checking mails first thing in morning is possibly the most reactive thing that one could do. Why?

E-mails are filled with call to actions that other people want you to perform.  It could be

1.     People selling you stuff –

Whether we like it or not, we subscribe to blogs and our Inboxes are filled with e-mails selling a product or a service. Have you seen the subject line on some of those mails? They are so catchy and they make it look like they have answers to all your problems. The sad part is you might not have any of those problems. These mails also invoke a very strong case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Here is an example

Email example
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Thank you kind stranger but no, my domain name is not going to be hacked!

2.     Mails from co-workers and clients that isn’t ordered based on priority –

We get work e-mails that are important, but they aren’t prioritized. This means the latest e-mail you see will trigger an action response and you will start working on it immediately, now that e-mail may not be important compared to the others you received. You have to start off the day with the toughest task to give your day a boost. When you start off the day completing a big task it sets up your day for success. When you have the most energy, you need to put your best work out there. Read about Eating that Frog for an idea of this concept.

3.    News that can alter your mood  –

E-mails are inundated with news and the latest happenings of the world. A lot of times we don’t remember to unsubscribe. Starting your day off with positivity is key. A small news article like a terrorist bombing can instantly switch your mood. News just like television isn’t choice; the news websites (Including social networking sites such as Facebook) decide for you what you should be seeing.

4.     Random mails that make you procrastinate –

We’ve all subscribed to that website with funny articles, viral videos and more. This is a recipe for disaster. Imagine the first thing you do after waking up and you open your e-mail and there’s a click bait article that you completely relate to. You visit the website and there are 2 or 3 other articles with really appealing content. Now what happens? You are 35 minutes in and you’ve just read a bunch of gibberish that adds no value to your life. This breeds procrastination.

5.    Avoid decision fatigue.

Do you know why famous people like Mark Zuckerberg, President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs wear the same style of clothes everyday? If your answer was fashion statement, then it’s wrong. They want to avoid what in psychology is called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue in simple terms is “Deterioration of decision making skills when you have a choice to make or you have to decide on something”.

If your spouse asks you “Does the red dress look better or the black dress look better?” You are using your precision decision making part of your brain. If you take a host of decisions like this, you end up tiring your brain.

E-mails are a bunch of decisions, whether to act upon something or not, whether to read an article or not, whether to reply immediately or not. Every single e-mail expects a response and sub-consciously you end up taking decisions and tire yourself.

How to handle morning itching of checking emails?

So far you have understood the downside of checking emails in the morning & you are now probably relating yourself to many of the poins listed above. If yes, then you are already in the path of making your morning meaningful.

1.     Apart from the incredible morning routine mentioned above, do your best work first thing in the morning. If it’s that blog post, presentation or a piece of code you have to write.

2.     Your e-mail is not you to-do list. So create one the previous night and work on your to-do list first thing in the morning. I prefer using Wunderlist to create & manage my To-do list. This also helps me to quickly assign any task to somebody else. (especially when I’m running behind the schedule)

3.     A lot of people check their e-mails only in the afternoon when they are most sluggish.

4.     Tell people around to call you if there is anything important and if they send you a mail tell them to expect a mail only within a few hours.

5.     If you can’t avoid e-mails first thing in the morning. Prioritize your inbox and keep the most important items in your main inbox.

Well, successful people have different ways of managing their email but one thing which is common in between them: Emails is not the way to start a day. If you are doing it; it’s the right time to skip this bad habit & do something which would make your day count.

Hope you’ve found this article useful. Subscribe to our blog for more amazing and life changing articles!

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

44 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Check E-mails as 1st Thing In The Morning”

  1. I never thought about this but it makes sense. I usually have my email on alerts but something it doesn’t alert me when something is in spam or junk. Thank you for this amazing post.

  2. Awesome blog post indeed but for me who makes a living from my career job for the last 16 years in the IT repair field and the boss on the shift for past 3 and half years my routine is every changing process as I have a whole lot of responsibilities then the average people who work a real job. I understand when working from home there tons of challenges as well so in fact we both have to sometimes switch our routine to help us not become a robot. We are human and sometimes need to switch something up for a week or two to know that there is more then 1 way to do your daily job.

    Being a boss in the IT industry is tough because me the boss not only in direct contacts with client rep’s who are VP’s, VP of sales and marketing and VP of support, I have to look after my employees and well as talking with my boss a lot during the day about behind the sceens stuff and future projects besides making sure I am not responsible for loosing millions of dollars because a client was uphappy about our work or someone in our company breached the contract. I am the one has to deal with this issues and not only do I have a ton of emails daily to just read and respond alone, my personal cell phone is also my work phone. I got our inhouse IM system app installed and can do work emails..etc ‘

    Typically I wake up in the morning, take a shower, I do some pushups and situps to get the blood flowing and as well loosens me up for a busy day. I check a few emails on my phone while eating breakfast and may respond to some but I sometimes don’t and on drive to work I think of excellent response’s to give them when I arrive at work.

    The key thing for me to not get to stressed out with my many responsibilities is that I take our mandatory breaks and I never think about work stuff when I am on my break. I typically walk around our huge building either by myself smoking cigs or with who ever wants to join me that’s already outside. We talk about a lot of stuff and it’s never work related stuff because we just want to relax and enjoy the minutes we have not having to physically do work stuff. This helps me a ton everyday.. Everyone needs to set mandatory breaks even if they work from home. You need a break and on that break don’t think about work, go exercise or walk your dog that’s been sitting at the door for 5 hours waiting on you.

    Bad thing is about my position that I’m always on call as the boss meaning I could get certain emails after my work hours that demand a response from a boss of the company. I may have to work different hours at any different time or long hours at last minute notice. But I love what I do and I love it when I can satisfy a client’s needs and also find a way to save them a little extra money while not breaching the multi-year contract they have with us. This helps us get clients to renew there contracts while our Sales team is always trying to bring additional clients in.

    For me, I live in email land in the morning, all day at work and even in off hours. I can’t get around this because it’s part of my high ranking position and plus I have to much passion for my workplace being there for 16 years now and I turn 36th this April. Yes I started there young but I continued education myself in the IT world and worked a lot of different positions in the company till I reached my goal years ago as the boss on the shift but I am friend with my manager as well and we get along well and have the same values.

    Emails are important to me because I don’t want to keep someone waiting for hours or a whole day for a response from myself. It could just be they need my approval on something that which can let a new project start right away and holding up projects from starting will effect the deadline which we never ever want to break. It gives our company a bad reputation.

    If you are interested in knowing the company I work for visit my blog and click on my LinkedIn profile. I haven’t really updated much info on my profile in awhile or got detailed in it as some information if I provided will breach contracts with some clients and I’ll be fired on the spot.

  3. Soumyakanti Ray

    Very informative article Harsh. Yes these are true that reading mails in the morning can alter our mind but for me it is different. Being a Tech News publisher I need to ready with my mail for the Press Releases. So checking mail hourly is a routine for me. For others who are working on different niche, this is a perfect guide to follow.

    Soumyakanti Ray

  4. Very good post. Personally I open my email box in the morning only if I am expecting or waiting an email. and I can’t be more agree with you, sometimes when we open our inbox we just give some marketer a chance to make us buy something we don’t need.
    You evoqued an important thing which is ” unsubscribing”. it is something to do systematically once we realize that a newsletter sends emails about something we are not interested in. Thus we can avoid a large amount of mood alteration while opening our mail inbox.

  5. I’m going to try this strategy. I’m going to start visualizing as a successful blogger every morning and start exercising to make my self fit. I will follow the proper schedule henceforth.

    Btw i will not read any books for inspiration. My inspiration to become blogger is because of shoutmeloud. So for inspirational I daily visit shoutmeloud. I hope within few years i will be atleast 50% like harsh is today.

  6. Aradhya patil

    Hi Harsh,
    This post is really helpful and yes really you are tips are really useful which helps to follow up a proper way for checking the mails on the basis of daily routine! Thanks for such interesting post!

  7. Dhaval Thakur

    The first thing i do when i wake up is to smile.I try not to touch mails first.Although i know that most emails would be of promotions like harsh said in the article. what we can also do is to listen soothing music 🙂

  8. Bruce mesnekoff

    Nice Bloging Tips. Your Article is impressive and very informative. I am now regular visitor of your website and bookmarked it.

  9. First morning till 10 am is very important for the whole day. A good music and a healthy breakfast helps me achieve my goals. I also try not to talk to people those who may bring my mood down. I pick up the most easy and smooth task to result a positive mind. Unless its important, I check my email in the odd hours. Yes email distracts a lot in many ways. Thanks Harsh…

  10. Thank you for these very helpful tips Harsh , I have been applying these techniques and it has increased my productivity a lot 🙂

  11. If I did not check my emails firs thing in the morning, I’d probably have been laid off by now. Being tuned in to what is going on with our systems 24/7 is one of the reasons my company loves me.Of course, checking emails makes me more productive rather than less, in that all my tasks are email driven.

  12. Hahaha…thanks for your tips.

    Checking email is my 1st thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep.

    I should change my habits.

  13. Well, I’ve been following the same routine from past few days and it’s much relaxing and gives you a space to think. The creativity is nurtured and it has soothing effect on the mind. While if you open email as the first thing in the morning, you build up on things and it creates a pressure.

  14. I always check my WhatsApp messages, notifications from my social media handles and sometimes, my blog’s traffic stats too. I should spend that time in meditation or something! I rarely get any important emails so they’re not the first thing I check in the morning. 🙂

  15. Victor Aloefuna

    Hello Harsh
    This is an informative article you truly
    make out time to right this article keep it up.
    I think having positive mental attitude about
    yourself and about every thing you do helps
    one to achieve great things in life.
    Visualizing what you want to become having
    a mental picture of your dreams makes you achieve your
    goals in life.

    I love this article keep it up.

  16. Hi Harsh,
    Thanks for the post. my first work is to check Email, but from now believe me i will not check my mail till when i finished my Daily routine.
    Thanks a lot

  17. lol, I am very guilty of checking my email first thing when i wake up, i do agree with your ideas totally, the morning time should be utilized more judiciously as the mind is still fresh and more alert.

    1 more thing i do is taking a bathe first thing in the morning, it also helps me feel fresher with a clear head.

    Great post, keep up the good work.

  18. Hi Harsh,
    Thank you for your advice. in the beginning, i used to do this mistake, I was checking my WhatsApp, emails and other social media stuff.
    But when I realize how much time I am wasting in the morning I stopped checking these.
    Thank you

  19. Mozammel Shykh

    Well, I personally feel like not agreeing with you completely. I guess if you can treat things separately, then this is the best practice.
    And I have been practicing this in my life. I mean treating things separately and making yourself emotionally stabilized is the first thing you need to strive for. This is where the actual game starts.
    And then yes, A flexible Time table works for a better life-clock.

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