Last week I posted Increase Productivity by Ignoring Your Inbox? and mentioned I was going to take Julie Morgenstern's advice for a week and not check email first thing in the morning as I typically do.
I was (mostly) successful in accomplishing the task and so I thought I'd give some follow-up thoughts.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I followed the plan exactly. Thursday was a weird day for us, so I didn't take a whole hour to work on other things first, but I mostly followed the plan. On Friday, well, I reverted to my old ways.
I was still able to accomplish a good amount of work on Friday.
Here are my reflections:
At the end of the day, I felt more productive
Doing an hour of work first definitely made me feel more productive. It felt great to get my "bread and butter" tasks out of the way.
I experienced fewer "frantic" moments
On days when I get sidetracked with email or other things first, I often have frantic moments toward the end of my working time blocks (see Tell Your Time for more info on time blocks) when I look at the clock, see that my time is almost up and realize I didn't even get to my most important things. I hate that.
It's not a magic bullet
There's nothing magical about not checking your email for an hour in the morning (and I don't think Julie was saying this). If you follow the rule it's not going to automatically make you a highly productive blogging machine. You still have to have a plan.
On Friday, I was surprised at how much work I got done, even though I ditched the plan and checked email first thing. The reason, I realized, had nothing to do with my inbox and everything to do with my plan.
For me, the better productivity tip is to have a checklist of things to complete before I sit down at the computer. Not checking email is an effective way to help myself stick to the plan for sure, but there are many potential pitfalls when the computer is open in front of me. Which leads me to…
Walking away works wonders
Avoiding my inbox in the morning was absolutely helpful and I think I will continue to shoot for a modified version of this plan in the future.
However, the morning is not the only time during the day when I get off track and am prone to wasting time or rabbit-trailing. The bottom line is, the whole computer is a problem since there are a million and one things that I can get sucked into (my inbox being only one of them). 3 Things I Do When I Get Off Track still absolutely applies.
What about you? For those of you who said you were going to avoid your inbox in the morning, did it work?