Why I Check My Email First

Hardly a week goes by without me seeing at least one blog post about how you shouldn’t check your email or social media to start your day, and that you should just launch into what you want to accomplish. I totally understand the intent behind this advice. However, there is one big reason to check your email, especially in the B2B arena:

Email = Ecommerce

Inherent in the “no morning check of email” advice is the belief that nothing important is on email. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my business, rush jobs are almost the norm instead of the exception. If I neglect to check orders that have come in via email (many of my clients are still not accustomed to using my online shopsites), I could be walking away from potential sales OR walking into a difficult rush situation that could have been resolved if only I had checked my email early in the day.

That being said, true confession is that I’ve had quite a struggle with email over the years until I developed this strategy for managing email:

Set a Timer. I usually spend about 30 minutes handling email first thing in the morning. I can see if any jobs have come in and get updates on projects and other issues. When 30 minutes are done, the email closes.

Set Up Multiple Email Accounts for Each Market or Purpose. Counter to many time management experts’ advice, I have multiple email accounts: one for blog and networking, one for personal, and one for accounting/administrative. Having the three accounts prevents me from shifting gears from one type of work to the next. I also have multiple branded email accounts which autoforward to these three accounts so that I don’t have to check all of them.

Tell ‘Em You’ll Check Once a Day (Even if You Do More). In my work email signature, I tell recipients that I check my email one time a day. That way, if I’m at events and meetings, they won’t expect me to be parked in front of my email screen. If I’m in the office, I might check three times during the day.

Free Weekends. With rare exception, I leave my weekends email free except for when I’ve finished and am sending off a project or proposal for Monday morning arrival. I get a lot of creative work done on the weekend and it’s good to get it off the desk. Other than that, email is off from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. Same for social media… except when I’ve got something to say about the Bears game. 🙂

Got an email strategy that works? Share with us in Comments.

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