Monday, January 16, 2017

Don't check email in the morning

Many of us seem connected to our personal devices, like our phone. We check email, do Twitter and Facebook, read websites and blogs, watch videos… we do everything. Our personal technology has become part of our lives, like a habit.

And like a habit, I'll bet many have this bad habit: you check email first-thing in in the morning.

But checking email right away when you get up is ruining your work-life balance. You aren't staying separated from "work" when you are at home. And checking email in the morning can ruin your day, according to Michelle Gielan, former national CBS News anchor turned psychology researcher and best-selling author.

According to Gielan, even one bad email can set a negative tone for your day. And that rings true for me, certainly. I try not to read email over breakfast, but when I do, one bad item can put me in a poor mood for much of my work day.

If you must check email in the mornings, Gielan recommends instead to put yourself in the right frame of mind before doing work emails. Take a few minutes to send a positive email to someone you know well, like a friend or a family member. From the article:

After you send your upbeat email, move on to your regular routine of checking your work email or the news.

That two-minute message primes your brain to see everything in a more positive light.

“It will change how you process your day and how you process your email at 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” she says.

My best recommendation is to preserve your work-life separation, and avoid work email at home when you can. But for those times when you do need to check work email, Gielan's recommendations may help.
image: William Hook (CC by-sa)

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