You probably know you should keep your email and your to-do list separate, as that lets you know exactly what needs to be done. But a single email interruption can mess with your productivity. That’s why expert Caroline Adams advises checking your to-do list before you even open your inbox.
Adams, author of Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently, says that this small change can help you prioritise what matters more and protect you from the time drain of dealing with your inbox.
Immediately answering your emails when you sit down to work may make you feel efficient and productive, but you may inadvertently be putting your most important work goals on the back burner. If you refer to your priority list every time before you dive into email at your desk, you won’t lose sight of what’s most important. With your priorities freshly in mind, how do you really want to spend the next 15 minutes?
Adams adds that this method is restricted to when you are working at your desk, which is when you are more likely to really clear your inbox. If you are moving about and want to check email on your phone, feel free to do that without consulting your to-do list first.