There’s a scene in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning Annie Hall in which Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, bemoans to his buddy, Rob, that “everything your parents said was good is bad: sun, milk, red meat, college.” Fast forward 33 years. Most everyone says it’s good (if not necessary) to check your e-mail first thing in the morning. But it can be lethal.
When sales reps check their e-mail before embarking on any other work, they put themselves in a reactionary, scattered-like mode, rather than starting the day in a productive, more focused mode, said Julie Morgenstern, founder of Julie Morgenstern Enterprises and author of “Never Check E-Mail In the Morning” and “Time Management from the Inside Out.”
Because sales reps operate in an interruption-rich environment, Morgenstern added, the very first hour of the work day is crucial. “Earn your salary in the first hour of the day,” Morgenstern said. “The first hour you should be focused on output and what is your most critical, high-value task of the day. It’s strategically looking at what is going to proactively drive your business forward. If you check e-mail, you get derailed for the rest of the day.”
Morgenstern said that a compulsion for checking e-mail often results in sales reps spinning their wheels because e-mail causes reps to constantly shift between (and among) tasks. “You can lose two, three hours a day because you’re constantly starting and stopping,” said Morgenstern, who has been guest on Good Morning America, NPR and the Today Show.
Part of the solution is what Morgenstern calls “Time Mapping.” “It’s having a basic structure to the day and week to do what you need to do and when to do it,” she said. “This time is for prospecting/forecasting/reporting/ existing clients. It’s creating buckets of time.”