One simple thing to do in the morning to stay most productive

Something that never goes away - conquering that never-ending challenge of “getting everything done.”

This spring, I led entrepreneur workshops at various universities around the country and a question the students asked me EVERY time was:

Sarah, you manage so many different things! How do you keep up with it all?

There is no easy answer to this, but there is one thing I swear by:

AVOID checking email first thing in the morning.

I used to check my email in the morning while still in bed. Studies show that email is as addicting as gambling, so the pull to check our inboxes immediately is very real.

I’ve changed that habit and learned that not checking email first thing is a game changer for me. I’ve noticed that when I give myself time to wake up and plan my day, I’m far more productive when I do check my email and start my work.

Being able to get things done comes down to being in control of our time, which comes down to how we set up our day.

Approximately 90% of the emails we receive are “asks” - people asking us to help them with their to-do lists. Checking email first thing, we think about others’ needs before our own and are catapulted into “to-do” mode without giving ourselves a chance to wake up. This is counterintuitive to an organized and productive day. If we decide what our most important to-dos of the day are BEFORE receiving everyone elses, it’s much easier to stay on track.

Are these “asks” important? Yes, of course! We need to address them. But it doesn’t have to be the VERY first thing of the day.

What if an urgent email is sent about a last minute gig or request while asleep?

Yes, that could happen, but the likelihood of someone emailing in the middle of the night and expecting an immediate response is slim. Checking email in the morning is definitely encouraged, but it doesn’t have to be the absolute start to our day.

If you’re looking for a simple way to boost productivity, I encourage you try giving yourself a few minutes to wake up and write down what the most important things you need to accomplish in the day first. How does this affect your day? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about my morning routine and what I do BEFORE checking email!