Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

Read 221 answers below or select another question.

Carolyn Feinstein · CMO, Dropbox

I tend to answer super urgent emails first thing in the morning to get a jump on the day. The rest I try to leave until I get into the office.

Drew Logan · Fitness Expert, Trainer

A big portion of my work happens on the East Coast even though I live on the West Coast, but just about everyone I work with knows that if it isn’t an emergency, they aren’t going to get a reply until 8:00am Pacific Time at the earliest.

Todd Davis · Executive Vice President, FranklinCovey

After I’m dressed I quickly check my email and appointments for the day. If there is anything urgent or easy to answer, I take care of it right then. My goal is to have my inbox empty at the end of each day. It’s a goal I rarely achieve, but I continually work on it.

Email is a bit like a “whack-a-mole” game for me throughout the day. During any spare time I have in the morning or between meetings, I go at it… whack-a-mole, baby!

Gail Saltz · Psychiatrist, Author

I answer overnight email in the morning and daytime email throughout the day, depending on its urgency and my schedule. I try to look and respond periodically, but I may delay something that requires more thought and writing until I can do it properly.

Matthew Weatherley-White · Managing Director, The CAPROCK Group

Sated and slaked, I am usually at my laptop between 6:30am and 7:00am, engaging in the daily (and usually fruitless) battle to wrestle the wretched email monster to the floor. Honestly, I simply don’t know how people do it. I just checked, and I have 5,889 unread emails in my inbox; 6,567 unread in something called “clutter” (which is likely to be an entirely appropriately named folder); and 62,742 unread in my deleted folder. And that is just from 2017. At least it gives me no end of pleasure to know that I’ve deleted on average 350 emails per day without even reading them. Bravo for life’s small victories!

I try to keep email to an absolute minimum in the early phase of the day, replying to just the critical responses. I’ve learned through failure that trying to clear my inbox would consume 100 percent of my available time, and I am simply unwilling to give that much of my day to email. Period.

Rick Popowitz · Serial Health Entrepreneur

I respond to emails and texts that are urgent. Sixty to seventy percent of what you get probably does not require a response or even much thought. People feel the need to include a bunch of other people in their emails. I think they feel it keeps everyone on the same page and is an efficient way to CYA (Cover Your Ass). It really isn’t. That’s my opinion and one I truly believe.

Allison Grayce · Designer, Parent

I leave it until later in the day. At Roadmap we use Slack as our primary communication internally and Intercom to talk to our users, so nothing urgent or time sensitive is in email. I check my personal email briefly in the morning and intermittently throughout the day.

Jillian Michaels · Health, Wellness, Fitness Expert

I answer it ALL day, but I definitely get to it as soon as my kids are off to school. That is just part of being a business owner that I believe is unavoidable. That said, I love my work, so it doesn’t bother me.

Ravi Raman · Executive Career Coach

I go through a round of email in the morning, responding to important client emails. Then, later in the day, I do the same thing. Emails that are not critical will be flagged and checked back on later in the week as time allows.

Having spent over thirteen years working at Microsoft Corporation, a very email-intensive company, I’ve become adept at moving quickly through email so I can focus on my important work.

Simon Enever · Co-Founder of Quip

I try to organize my inbox at night, but I don’t answer as I am usually too tired. First thing in the morning I jump in and respond. I also use my inbox as a to-do list on top of others in Trello, My Notebook, and Asana.

Wendy McKennon · Head of UX, Color

Morning is my creative time (no meetings and no children up), so I tend to avoid spending a lot of time in email. I do a quick scan to make sure there is nothing urgent, then put it aside for a couple of hours until I’m in the office.

Mick Batyske · DJ, Parent

I try to wait until after 9:00am, when I am at my desk. Occasionally, depending on what’s going on in my business life, that may move up on the urgency ladder. But in a perfect world, it’s at my desk.

My life is pretty insane and nonstop. I manage my own deejay career, which is a full-time job in itself. I work with various brands in many different capacities, so there are inquiries and projects coming in all day. I also invest and advise in a lot of start-ups, so those take up a big part of my day as well.

I try to respond to emails in order of potential gain, be it money, publicity, or opportunity. I filter out the other stuff for later.

Jamie Morea · Co-Founder of Hyperbiotics

I currently live in Europe and most of my team is in North America, so I often wake up antsy to see what has happened while I was sleeping. That said, my sanity depends on my ability to unplug, so unless there is a special project going on, I typically refrain from checking email until after breakfast.

Nick Tasler · Organizational Psychologist, Columnist

I do everything in my power NOT to open my email until midday. My mornings are sacred writing time. I can get more good creative writing done in the three hours between 6:00am and 9:00am than I can in the eight hours between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Email invariably sends me down some rabbit hole or another.

Jenna Tanenbaum · Founder, GreenBlender

I very rarely answer email in the morning. When I get into work, I look at my calendar and write a to-do list for the day. I make sure I do the most important items on that list first, and once I have gone through the list, I answer email. Email is one of those never-ending things; if you don’t prioritize correctly, it won’t let you get anything done.

Figuring out the best way to deal with email was a huge breakthrough for me. I would have hundreds of emails I needed to respond to, and I would feel stressed because I wasn’t getting to them. I knew I had to make a change or my inbox would start running my life. I now manage my inbox in the following ways:

  1. I batch my email time. I set aside one- to two-hour blocks in my day to just respond to email. If that time ends up being late at night or on the weekends, I schedule the messages to go out first thing in the morning the next day. I don’t respond to email outside of that time.
  2. I use canned responses. I use Streak to save my most frequently used responses and information. It allows you to program shortcuts so you don’t even have to look up the response. I can simply type “lawarehouse” in an email, and the address of our LA location auto-fills. It’s a major time saver.
  3. I employ inbox zero. As soon as I respond to an email or decide not to respond, I archive it and get it out of my inbox. Only important emails that still need a response are in my inbox.
  4. I don’t answer every email. This was a big one for me and was hugely liberating. You don’t need to respond to every email. If it’s not a good fit or just not a priority at the moment, archive it and move on. Don’t waste your brain power.

Nikki Pechet · VP of Marketing, Thumbtack

I answer email until the moment I go to bed at night, so unless it is one of my early bedtime nights, I generally do not have much urgent email in the morning. Other than a quick scan when I get up, I generally will not get to email until midday when I have time blocked on my calendar (usually thirty minutes, sixty if I’m lucky) to catch up.

On my busiest days, I may not get to my email until after my kids’ bedtime. My team knows how to reach me if they have something urgent I might miss in my inbox.

May Boeve · Executive Director of 350.org

I usually leave it until I get to work - I’d rather get myself to the office earlier, and I need to get out the door faster in order to do so. Not checking email first thing helps me to be fully focused, as opposed to just giving my partial attention, while I’m rushing around getting ready to leave.

My day is really structured around phone meetings, and I often have early morning phone meetings at home before I even get to the office. When that’s the case, I check email quickly beforehand to make sure I know what’s going on before my meeting.

Stephanie Lee · Writer for Lifehacker, Men’s Health

As a cartoon guy falling off a cliff would say, “Noooooooooooooooooooo.”

No email in the morning for me. In recent years, I’ve learned that email is a poor use of my fresh morning brain, which brims with creative energy and willpower. Of course, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I know that ninety-nine percent of the emails I receive overnight aren’t so pressing that they must be answered, or else!

I check email a few times in the day, once I’ve been awake for a few hours. I start drafts by typing “Hi so-and-so…,” so I know that I need to reply but not until much later in the day.

Bedros Keuilian · Founder, CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp

Absolutely not! Email is a terrible way to start the day. I have a special block of work time in the morning when I check for important emails, but I don’t seriously go through my inbox until much later.

I want control of my mornings. I want to control my emotions and set my own priorities. When you throw email into the mix, you lose that level of control, so I save it for later when I’m not in a creative space.

Todd Henry · Bestselling Author

I sometimes check notifications while I’m making breakfast, just to see if anything critical has happened overnight, but I usually don’t dive into email until later in the morning.

Amanda Hesser · Co-Founder and CEO of Food52

I don’t answer email first thing, but I usually check it while I’m making the kids’ lunch - I want to see if there are any fires to put out or cancellations that may affect my schedule. Then I save the rest for the subway.

Christine Koh · Lifestyle Expert, Parent

I’m on email pretty much all through the workday. An overflowing inbox sends me into a panic. My goal for 2017 was to start with an empty inbox, and, yes, I added it to my to-do list!

Terri Schneider · Endurance Athlete, Author

Not typically. When I end up on my bike trainer for my first workout, I check email as I pedal. If I am expecting a time-sensitive email, I may take a peek before heading out the door.

My workout is a time to be away from technology, and I have no problem unplugging; the time to unplug is a happy time for me.

Emily White · Co-Founder of Dreamfuel, Whitesmith Entertainment

I definitely answer email if I’m up in the early morning. It is the best as responses aren’t coming in. It’s a great way to maintain inbox zero. Whether I’m pulling an early morning or not, I always read The New York Times’ email digest on my phone from bed (often in a legs-up-the-wall yoga pose to get rolling for the day).

Erin Loechner · Author, Parent

Never! I only answer emails after I’ve written, or after I’ve met an important deadline for the day. Emails are simple and quick for me to answer, so I like to reserve them for a time when my brain isn’t operating at peak creativity levels.

Erika Serow · President and US CEO, Sweaty Betty

I deliberately don’t check or answer email until after I’ve walked out of my front door, otherwise I don’t leave. With our headquarters in the UK, I’m guaranteed to have 20-30 emails waiting for me by the time I wake up.

Guy Tal · Landscape and Nature Photographer

When home I try to answer urgent email first thing in the morning. If I wait longer, I find myself distracted by thoughts of it waiting for me.

When outdoors I don’t check, or respond to, messages very often (or at all). I need to disconnect emotionally from the human world in order to fully immerse myself in my work.

Vanessa Garcia · Multidisciplinary Artist

Unless it’s very important, I tend to not answer emails until after my 10:00am break. I do check them first thing though, just in case. I’m not yet wise enough not to do that.

Danny Gregory · Artist, Author

Sadly, I do look at my email earlier than I should. I rarely answer it then though. I just mark it unread and deal with when my work day officially starts, at 9:00am.

Liesl Gibson · Pattern Designer

One of the things I love about living in Europe is that everyone in the United States (where our business partners are located) is sleeping during the first part of my work day. This means I can work without interruption until about 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, when I finally turn my attention to email requests before everyone else lands at their desks and expects an answer.

If email requires a lot of time, I address it more fully in the evenings when I’m waiting for my daughter’s ballet/flamenco classes or after she goes to bed. It works out really well.

Steph Davis · Free Soloist, Wingsuit BASE Jumper

I usually sit down to answer emails around midday or in the afternoon, but I also do it sporadically throughout the day from my phone if I’m in cell range. I have a lot of freedom with what I do, but I’m also pretty connected almost all the time.

Jon Gold · Designer, Engineer, Adventurer

I don’t really get work email during the night, but my Twitter account is flooded with notifications when I wake up. As much as I love my friends, I try my best to push social media to later in the day; getting sucked into Twitter too early usually sets my morning up for failure. Count this habit as a work in progress!

Sol Orwell · Co-Founder of Examine.com

First thing. Because I have employees around the world, they are often waiting on me. Also, I talk about entrepreneurship on both SJO.com and my Facebook account, so I usually wake up to a lot of messages. I’m a big proponent of inbox zero, so I usually get through my messages quickly.

Sarah Doody · UX Designer, Product Strategist

I don’t check email first thing in the morning. I try to quickly scan my email and respond to anything urgent. I put anything that isn’t urgent into a folder that I check on Fridays when I do all my follow ups.

Sometimes I will respond to emails early in the morning, but I use Boomerang to have it sent out later in the day so that people don’t get the impression that I’m online and available and start messaging me.

Shane Parrish · Founder of Farnam Street

I get hundreds of emails a day. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to answer all of them, but I do make a point to read all of them. Email doesn’t get read or answered until late morning or afternoon. I schedule in time for emails during my day.

Checking email constantly throughout the day breaks concentration and throws off any possible state of flow.

Victoria Durnak · Artist, Sculptor

I check my email during breakfast and find time to reply during the day if there is something urgent. If not, I reply to emails after my son falls asleep.

I send myself a lot of emails during the day. I use it as a Post-it Note system. My husband only checks emails three days a week; what a lunatic! Just kidding, I’m kind of jealous. Sometimes I try to do the same, but then I go back to checking every day. In my post office I saw an image of a kid and a mailman. The accompanying text said: “Kids love receiving mail.” Grownups do too!

Isabel De Los Rios · Certified Nutritionist

I get very little email (most of it goes through my assistant first), so I do check my email after my prayer time. I may also have some leftover emails that I did not reply to from the day before, since half of my employees are on a different time zone.

Emails only take about 5-10 minutes of my morning.

David Kadavy · Author

Email is an afternoon activity. I try not to check it until after my first meal. Less critical email I Boomerang until Friday. My brain isn’t its best on Friday, but it works well enough to answer lower-priority emails.

Jess Weiner · Social Entrepreneur

I work really hard to not get into my phone/email before breakfast because then my brain is not my own. I find I get too into solving other people’s problems and stop being present in my own life. I am deeply committed to creating more space in my day for being present in my sanity, my marriage, and my inner relationship.

Usually I dig into email right after breakfast, but it’s definitely a work in progress!

Arianna Huffington · Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

I make a point not to answer email right when I wake up, and I avoid the temptation by not keeping my electronic devices charging in my room. But since I’m running a news organization, and the morning is an incredibly important time for conversations with our editors, it’s important for me to be reachable. I’m on email as soon as I hit my bike.

Brian Balfour · Founder, CEO of Reforge

If I’m expecting a super important response, I will check email in the morning. This tends to be a trap, though, and I get sucked in. But most days I won’t seriously go through email until around noon or even later.

Arvell Craig · Coach, Strategist

In regard to email, I’m very aware of the studies and normally don’t check it until I work out. Depending on the size of my workload, I will check it briefly earlier in the morning because I have overseas contractors on many of my projects. I’ll check for updates and reply so I can get in any last minute changes before they leave the office.

So on average I’ll wait at least two hours before checking. I’d like to push it even later, until noon or even later, but I’m just not there yet.

Kate Krasileva · Psychology Researcher

I do check my phone first thing in the morning and will look at my personal email, as well as Instagram, as I’m waking up. This helps me to stay awake and not go back to sleep but also allows me to take a few moments to get out of bed. However, I never check my work email until I get to the lab at about 8:00am.

Sean Ogle · Entrepreneur, Writer

I always try and do email early-ish. I don’t like it hanging over my head all day, so I’d rather get to inbox zero immediately after my writing time, and be able to free up that mental space for other things.

Katelin Jabbari · Googler, Parent

For the past six years, email has been the main mode of communication in my work, so I’m on it pretty much all day. However, I’m more mindful now than I used to be about when I send or respond to emails, in that I try not to send very many things outside of normal working hours (unless it’s really urgent or it’s clear that I don’t need a reply until working hours).

I try to have no (or as few as possible) unread emails in my inbox throughout the day, which means I respond to the bulk of them when I first get into the office, and then as they come in throughout the day.

Rachel Binx · Data Visualizer, Artist

I check my email first thing in the morning to make sure there isn’t anything urgent, but I try to hold off on answering it until later in the day. I find that I’m most creative and productive when I first wake up, so I try to channel that into more worthwhile tasks.

Taylor Davidson · Entrepreneur, Photographer

I answer a lot of email first thing in the morning. Since many of my customers and clients are from outside the United States, working across timezones is a constant challenge.

I’ll usually wake up and start the day with customer service questions first thing in the morning. But it doesn’t bother me. Being responsive to questions and helping people quickly is part of what I do, and it’s tremendously valuable for me and my business. I used to work in venture capital, and in that business, being highly responsive to email is a necessity. It’s the same thing for me now; entrepreneurs have important questions, deadlines, and decisions, and they need information and direction quickly so that they can move forward.

Manuel Lima · Designer, Author

I normally allocate one hour in the morning for email and, if time allows, some quick updates on my social accounts.

I typically do a quick scan through all new messages and flag the ones I want to read more carefully or reply to at length. After this swift triage I try to answer some of the flagged ones within that hour, but there are always a few I leave for later.

Ann Handley · Author, CCO of MarketingProfs

First thing. I’m a bit nutty about it, really. I can’t stand the idea of starting my day with unprocessed mail. I don’t necessarily spend time answering it until later on in the day… but I do process it by either deleting or setting it aside for response later.

Craig Ballantyne · Author, Fitness Expert

I don’t check email until I’ve been awake for several hours and have completed major progress on my number one priority. Fortunately, I don’t get a lot of email by design. I send very few emails, and I’ve taught my team to limit the emails they send. It’s much better to have a face-to-face discussion or phone call.

Chris Guillebeau · Author, Modern-Day Explorer

First thing! Well, I don’t spend my whole morning doing email, but I also don’t leave it until later. Long ago I learned a great trick from Chris Brogan: spend a short period of time going through and answering urgent queries, firing off anything important, and deleting junk mail. Next, focus on your creative work for a while, and then return to the rest of the mail.

I love this approach because if I completely ignore email and leave everything for later, I end up getting way behind. Once I get behind, it’s a disaster because people are waiting on things, and it takes hours upon hours to catch up and get back to everyone. By doing a little at first, I’m much more prepared for the day.

David Moore · Designer

I do answer emails first thing in the morning, but I typically wait until after my twenty minutes of silence. I’ve come to think of myself as a car. I give myself some time to warm up before I start moving around and answering questions.

Steve Kamb · Founder of Nerd Fitness

If I’m behaving, I don’t check email until after my morning writing session. I know that all it takes is one email to get me lost in busy work and ruin my morning, so I do what I can to block Gmail (and don’t have it on my phone) in the morning so that I get the most important task (usually writing an article or working on my book) out of the way before I can be distracted.

Cara Stawicki · Rower

No. I’ll either start checking email at home during breakfast or wait until I’m back out of the house and ready to work for the day.

I read once that answering email first thing in the morning triggers a reactive state of mind. I agree, and therefore make it a point to leave email until later in the day.

Penelope Trunk · Author, Entrepreneur

I spend a little time in the morning on email and try to manage it throughout the day. I respond to every single email I receive so I have become an expert at efficiently answering email.

Morgan Jaldon · Marathon Runner

I do check my email first thing in the morning. I read through them but never answer them until later in the day. I like to think about what I read and how I will respond.

Maren Kate Donovan · Founder of Zirtual

I think answering email first thing in the morning is the BANE of modern existence. Numerous studies have shown that being reactive (checking email, social media, etc. first thing in the morning) is terrible for your mental health and productivity throughout the day. I try to keep my phone on airplane mode in the morning and only use it to listen to podcasts or an audio book as I do my morning routine.

My advice to anyone who will listen is never start checking email until after you have completed your morning routine, a creative writing and reading block, and have spent at least thirty minutes on your toughest work project.

Lisa Congdon · Fine Artist, Illustrator

I do get on email within an hour of waking up, but only during the week. My business is very busy and staying on top of my business email is something that my wife and I work very hard at. Customer service and responsiveness to my clients and customers are very important to us.

We don’t spend all day on email, however. Once we check it in the morning, we take a break until midday and focus on other things.

Rand Fishkin · Founder of Moz

I try to get as close to inbox zero as I can at all times, which means answering in the morning, between meeting breaks during the day, when I get home, and before I go to sleep. I get a lot of email and I do my best to keep up with all of it.

Courtney Carver · Writer, Photographer

Rarely first thing. I usually check email between 10:00am and midday unless I’m in the middle of a project where other people are depending on a response from me.

That first check of the day is usually just an email triage. I respond to what’s urgent, and leave the rest for an afternoon session so I can focus on creative work in the morning.

Gregg Carey · Entrepreneur, Survivor Contestant

I do answer email in the morning, though I find it’s a lazy way to feel productive and get some things done.

I feel better when I spend the first thirty minutes of the day working on a personal project that would benefit from my best attention. Examples of this include writing a song, or working on a business plan for something five years out. I can move a lot forward when I dedicate this time and it is a huge lever in developing a well-rounded life.

Danielle Buonaiuto · Soprano

​I used to, but this was a stress-inducing practice, and even if I take stock of it while turning off my alarm on my phone, I leave it until I’ve reached a desktop: after I’ve breathed, caffeinated, and eaten.

It makes a huge difference.​

Elizabeth Royal · Street Style, Fashion Photographer

I wait until after my morning routine to answer emails, so typically I don’t get to them any earlier than 10:30am.

I skim them when I wake up and I’m lying in bed on my phone, but I like to think about what I should say for a while and have less of a reaction and more of a thought-out response. Unless there is something with a fast deadline, I take my time. Also, I work in a different time zone than a lot of people, so that works in my favor since I’m hours and hours ahead.

During more hectic weeks I’ll answer email during any hour of the day, including right when I wake up. But that’s only a few weeks out of the year. During fashion weeks, for example, I send messages, emails, or run social media campaigns almost round the clock.

Johnny FD · Entrepreneur, Frequent Traveler

I never check email first thing in the morning and try to do something creative for the first hour or two when I get into the office. As soon as you check your email, you become on the defensive and are always putting out fires or dealing with what others put in front of you. Instead I do something creative every morning.

My goal is to create one piece of value every day, whether it’s a blog post, or a new episode of my podcast.

Crystal Paine · Author, Speaker

I am a firm believer in staying on top of email. In fact, my goal is to have no more than five or fewer emails in my inbox at any given time. Because of this, my inbox is one of the first things I deal with each morning.

I go through my email as soon as my work time begins, and I make sure it is empty before moving on to other tasks. Since I keep my inbox so under control, this usually only takes a few minutes each morning.

Wesley Verhoeve · Photographer

I try to save it until I get to the office. If I check it too early, my brain starts racing because I’ll be excited to think of ways to solve a client’s problem through photography and writing, and once it starts it’s hard to stop.

Mimi Ikonn · Co-Founder of Luxy Hair

I leave email until I get to the office. In general I keep my phone on airplane mode while I’m doing my morning routine so to avoid distractions. It’s an amazing habit that I implemented a year ago.

Louisa Rogers · Business Trainer, Writer

Both. I’m okay answering emails first thing. I use email the way people once wrote letters, and I correspond with old friends through email. Email doesn’t run my working life.

Now in my sixties, I’m mostly financially independent so I can work part-time and don’t have to bust my butt all the time to survive. Actually, I’ve worked part-time for my entire professional life… but that’s another story!

Molli Surowiec · SoulCycle Instructor, Former Professional Dancer

I don’t answer any email until I’ve gotten through my morning routine! It wasn’t always like that for me, though.

For years, my eyes would open, and I’d grab my phone. Email. Social media. Texts. Maybe some coffee, a distracted workout (exercising while answering email). Likely skipping breakfast. I always felt like my mind was on a speed train, with no clear direction where it was going. I often felt anxious, overwhelmed, disorganized, and lost under an endless pile of “to-dos.”

Now I focus on a morning I love: gratitude, hydration, exercise, and breath. Creating a morning routine I love has changed my days, and ultimately, my quality of life. It’s something I try to not compromise on, even when traveling, because the impact is just that huge.

Carrie Melissa Jones · Writer, Community Builder

Email is a disease. Unless it’s from someone I love, and I love most people. So email can be a slippery slope for me.

Because I know this, I don’t check my email until after I’ve accomplished at least one thing for myself in the morning or crossed off a big task on my Asana work task list. This usually happens around 11:00am or so.

Yuko Shimizu · Japanese Illustrator, Educator

Both. There are always emails I have to reply to in the morning as, with the internet, borders are diminishing, and many of my clients work in different time zones.

With that said, I don’t have a computer or internet connection set up at home, and I don’t even check email over the weekend.

Temitopé Owolabi · Photographer, Student

One of the first things I do when I wake up is check email. I don’t necessarily respond to them right away but I take a quick look to see if there’s anything highly important, but typically I respond to them later in the day.

Aiste Gazdar · Co-Founder, Director of Wild Food Cafe

Checking email first thing is the morning is one of the worst things I can think of. It can affect my energy for the whole day.

I only turn my email on when I’m fully ready to face anything, and I’m ready for action. Usually this is between 9-10:00am in the morning. I don’t like leaving it until the afternoon as the energy of the afternoon is different and not the most conducive to addressing the important stuff.

Sara Rosso · Director of Marketing at Automattic

After coffee and when I’m in work mode, I do tend to look at notifications and emails first thing in the morning, and answer anything which is blocking the person waiting for an answer.

Since I work in a distributed company, I pay extra attention to getting replies to people so they can move forward in their time zone. I admit I spend a larger portion than I’d like in the morning consuming information and I’d like to shift more to creating first, but it takes time to create these habits. :)

Tammy Strobel · Writer, Photographer

Generally, I try not to respond to email first thing in the morning. I’ll usually check my inbox later in the morning or in the afternoon. When I check my email first thing, my morning routine is always derailed.

Jessica Zollman · Photographer, Former Community Evangelist

I’ll check my email in the morning to make sure there isn’t anything urgent from my agent or any clients since I’m on the West Coast and they’ve often been up for hours on the East Coast.

If there isn’t anything that needs a response right away I usually wait to respond until after I’ve had breakfast.

Adebe DeRango-Adem · Graduate Student, Freelance Journalist

Part of the sacredness of my reading time is that I touch paper before anything else.

As much as the Virgo in me wants to check my multiple email inboxes and iPhone apps, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and always stay connected to the various people I’m accountable to, I try to shelf that feeling until it becomes absolutely necessary.

Hua Wang · Entrepreneur, Aspiring Cook

I answer emails that require only a quick reply first thing in the morning. At night, I try to answer all my emails. I like browsing my emails in the morning to see if there are any messages requiring my immediate attention.

Melody Wilding · Licensed Therapist, Expert in Workplace Psychology

I zero my inbox at the end of each day (some of my favorite tools that help with this are Boomerang, FollowUpThen, and Unroll.me), which means I’m greeted with a pretty manageable inbox every morning. My strategy is to filter my messages first thing, clearing out trash and processing anything that can be done within two minutes. Only after I’ve worked on my big projects for that day for at least 1-2 hours do I then turn my attention to answering other emails.

Karina Bania · Artist, Mother

I try and answer pertinent emails in the morning after breakfast, or I flag everything that I need to answer that day so I can easily come back to it. I like starting the day with a clear head and a clear inbox.

Mattan Griffel · CEO of One Month, Forbes’ 30 Under 30

I try not to look at email until my most important task of the day is done, at least until about 10:00am.

There are always a ton of urgent and important tasks to do. I’ve found that checking email usually derails me from all of the things that aren’t in my inbox.

Mike Vardy · Founder of Productivityist

I never answer email first thing in the morning. If I go into email early on it’s because I’m going in with a mission from My 3 Absolutes, not because I want to know who has reached out since I was last in email.

I will often check email after I get at least one of my absolutes done, though.

Jenny Blake · Author, Yoga Fanatic

One of my worst habits used to be reading email from my pillow first thing upon waking up. What a horrible way to start the day! I felt stressed and annoyed before even getting out of bed.

Now I try not to even bring my phone near the nightstand, and I do not check email until after I have accomplished one to two hours of work on my most important projects for that day.

Belle Beth Cooper · Writer and Co-Founder of Exist

Emails have a high chance of setting off my day badly, so I try to protect my morning by avoiding looking at my inbox. I answer emails whenever the mood takes me. Often I’ll do a bunch at once, if they’re all Exist customer support emails, for instance.

Elle Luna · Artist, Designer, Writer

I try not to check email first thing in the morning, but I have a book coming out and there are a lot of folks organizing a zillion little parts from New York, three hours ahead, so I do try my best to stay up to speed with them!

Grace Bonney · Founder of Design*Sponge

I answer email all day every day. It’s my primary means of communicating with my team and the people I write about, so it’s hard to turn it off.

I start when I wake up but I usually have a hard stop around 7:30pm. I used to answer emails until midnight every night but I’ve gotten a lot better at setting boundaries with that.

Amber Rae · Writer, Artist

It depends. Sometimes I’m so excited about what’s happening with The Daily Clue project and its members that I hop on email and our private group to tune into the conversations and reflections right away. It feels like a shot of morning espresso.

Since I can get sucked into the internet hole if I’m not mindful, lately I’ve been challenging myself to turn my phone and computer off at night and turn it back on the next day once my workout, breakfast, and writing is complete. Creating this space gives me that much more presence and focus when I do dive in.

Ben Brooks · Tech Writer, iOS Project Manager

No. I will check email in the morning just to see what is going on, or read any newsletters that I may want to see. Otherwise I tend to wait until mid-morning to respond to emails. A lot of times by then I will have either talked to the person, or the issue will have gone away. I also don’t like people thinking I will immediately respond to emails, so I try not to set that expectation.

Eli Trier · Illustrator, Writer

I always check email first thing, but I don’t respond to anything until much later in the day.

It’s a horrible thing to do, but I guess that’s the downside of having a phone by your bed instead of a clock! I’ve been meaning to buy an alarm clock so I can leave my phone out of reach until I’m ready to take action on emails.

Brian Wong · Founder, CEO Kiip

I do. By the time I’m up at 7 or 8:00am PST it’s already 10-11:00am EST, so I have to be checking or else I can miss any number of crucial emails that need my immediate attention.

Shannon Whitehead · Founder of Factory45

Time sensitive emails get answered at some point in the morning or early afternoon, but anything that can wait gets moved to a different folder.

I “batch reply” to most emails every few days at the end of the work day. I always keep my inbox at zero, though, whether I reply immediately or move it out of my inbox.

Caroline Leon · Life Coach

I tend to check my email first thing, but I read recently that our most productive and creative hours are first thing in the morning, and we miss out on them when we use that energy for things that don’t require creativity or productivity, like checking emails.

I’m aiming to change that this year.

Nichole Powell · Photographer, Writer

It depends. I check emails first thing in the morning, before I’ve had a chance to plan out my day. If something urgent happened overnight, then I’ll respond. Otherwise, I try to hold off until I’ve sorted my day out, and then I use the time after breakfast to start replying to emails. It makes me more anxious to not know what’s in there.

Courtney Boyd Myers · Founder, Audience.io

I try and leave email until I’m finished with my morning routine, but often something will need to be addressed in London and I’m already behind a few hours timezone wise. I’ll usually check in with the audience.io UK team on Slack to make sure everyone is okay and nobody’s laptop has caught on fire.

Tessa Miller · Tech and Health Editor, The Daily Beast

I usually glance at email first thing in the morning, but I don’t reply until I get to the office (unless it’s an emergency).

I used to answer emails all day, every day, no matter the time. But I’m trying to get better at work/life separation (trying is the key word).

Rae Dunn · Ceramic Artist

It depends on what the email is regarding. If it’s something important to me (I just wrote my first book, so my editor was top priority) then I will answer immediately. Other emails that can wait, do.

Sadly, I am notorious for letting emails pile up and often fail to answer them altogether (a bad habit). I like to spend the least amount of time on my computer as is humanly possible. Nothing frustrates me more than my computer and technology when it doesn’t work!

Andy Hayes · Tea Seller, Creative Web Producer

I batch emails because it’s the most effective way to get through them.

Rarely is an email urgent, so I check-in on email when I get to my desk just to make sure my team has what they need for the day. I’ll then review email again at lunchtime and do a final clear-out of email at the end of the day.

Kyle Legg · Web and Graphic Print Designer

If I notice any important email notifications when I wake up, I’ll check them, but usually email waits until I’m in the office. Even then, email is not the first thing on my mind when I arrive.

Chase Night · YA Author, Reader

I’m not a high-volume inbox kind of guy, but I can assure you that if I were, I would let them pile up until the last possible minute.

David William · Collects Stories, Projects, and Life Experiences

There is nothing exciting or important enough in my life to warrant answering emails first thing in the morning.

One day I hope to be important enough to wake up stressed and overwhelmed, needing to hammer out emails, and send critical replies to Tokyo or London. Until then, I usually check my phone/email as I’m getting out of bed to make sure the world hasn’t ended or the city hasn’t burned down, but I won’t respond to anything right away.

I still believe in the art of thoughtful correspondence, and I keep a clean and simple inbox. But we’ve put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be available to everyone, all the time. Email is a passive engagement and I’d like to keep it that way.

Paula Borowska · Author, Blogger, UX Designer

I check my email in the morning but I don’t answer it until much later.

I don’t want to start my day by having to deal with email – email is a terrible thing. During the day I’ll remember that I have to respond to this person, or email another. I also don’t have my email app open on my computer so I’m not bothered every time an email comes in just because a new email came in. I find that ridiculous. I also don’t have email on my phone, hell no.

Ani · Lives in New York City

I check my email when I’m trying to wake my body up, 5-15 minutes after opening my eyes. I’ll answer anything super important then – otherwise, it can wait until I’m committed and sitting at my office desk.

Mike Moloney · Entrepreneur, Web Designer

I have a terrible routine of checking email, social media, and my site immediately every time I sign on my computer. It is a bad habit, and I blame it on my obsession with stats and analytics. This is one habit I’d like to work on so that I can focus more on work and less on stats and vanity metrics.

Doug Belshaw · Parent, Non-Profit Web Literacy Lead

I usually check email while I’m getting breakfast ready. I use an app called Twilight on my phone to shift the screen colour towards the red end of the spectrum so it’s not so harsh for me when I wake up. Again, because I’m part of a distributed team, I want to make sure I’m already processing what I need to do that day.

So my email ‘on’ hours (both work/personal) are around 07:00am to about 9:00pm. I know some people complain about email, but at least it’s a stable, easy to understand platform with threaded conversations. I just have an ‘ACTION’ folder and an ‘Archive’ folder. Once you’ve triaged your email (i.e. got it out of your inbox), you don’t have to reply to it until later.

James Clear · Entrepreneur, Weightlifter, Writer

Not if I can help it.

My most productive days are the days when I avoid email until as late as possible. I think it’s pretty much always better to spend your time working on your own agenda rather than responding to someone else’s. I typically don’t open email until noon. Occasionally, I’ll go later than that.

Heather Wardell · Author of Fifteen Novels

Never ever in the morning!

I don’t do email or check my social media or anything like that until after 5:00pm or whenever my writing is done for the day. There’s always the risk of seeing something (bad review, angry email) that will put my creative mind into a turmoil and I do not want that to happen. I’ve lost some good writing days in the past to such things and so now I simply ignore all of that until the end of the day. I only check once a day, and that seems to work just fine.

Paul French · Writer, Wonder Junkie

Josh Waitzkin, who wrote The Art of Learning, pointed out that, “For too many people the creative process is dominated by external noise as opposed to internal music.” I learnt that to maintain clarity going into my work, looking at email is the most destructive thing I can do.

Checking email was such a powerful, reflexive pull for me – a hangover from office life – that I needed help. I installed Chrome Nanny, which you can use to block access to distracting sites between set times.

Garrick van Buren · Father of Four, Product Strategist

Once the kids are ready for the day, usually about 8:00am, I’ll go through email and check a couple of social media accounts. At the same time, my mobile phone’s ringer turns back on (it’s on silent from 8:00pm-8:00am).

Between 8:30-9:00am I’m in my office reviewing whatever I’ve scheduled for 9:00am.

Provi Hernandez · Early Riser, College Student

Even though I don’t go right onto my PC in the morning, it’s usually soon after breakfast that I go on to do whatever I need to do. I’ve started checking my email from my phone (so I won’t need to get up).

Clare Herbert · Irish Freelance Writer

I avoid checking email while I’m still in bed, though I’ll often check out my Instagram feed for some visual brain food. I check email at my desk, but don’t respond to non-urgent messages until later in the afternoon.

Gray Miller · Grandparent, Writer, Speaker

I try to leave it to when my “official” day starts.

Mailbox is the app I use, which has a gesture-based interface that makes sorting through email a visceral joy. But I try not to let the world into my brain until my routine is done. That being said, I have some work that can be urgent, and some clients have “alerts” on my phone so that they can get my attention when needed.

Heidi Sistare · Writer, Community Builder

I check it almost first thing in the morning.

I know that everyone says it’s better to leave your email for later in the day, but it calls to me until I open it up! It’s like an addiction.

Melissa Fergusson · Parent, Creative director, Actor

I’m one of those people who check my smartphone first thing in the morning until the time I go to sleep. Responding to emails is important to me, as communication is my thing! I also utilise many social media platforms including Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook daily (I’m online 12-18 hours per day).

Sam O’Neill · Student, Part-Time Lifeguard

None of the email I receive is particularly important. I’ll glance at my notifications on my phone when I pick it up just before I leave the house, but I’ll never reply until later unless it is really urgent.

James Wolfe · Insatiably Curious Individual

I check my email in the morning, but only after I have made a prioritized to-do list for the day. I usually check my phone and social media accounts as I walk to work from my house.

Carrie Ford Hilliker · Designer, Brand Strategist

I generally try not to dig in right away. Once I’m into email, I’m in such a different headspace. I really need that half hour or forty minutes to fully wake up, so I’ll skim it on my phone but I don’t respond to anyone until I get to my laptop (office).

Richard Wotton · Newly Qualified Media Studies Teacher

It has to be done first thing, just purely on a logistical level.

Information is power, and any clue of what my day might bring informs the decisions that I make with classes and individual students later in the day. Am I required to do cover today? Has another teacher had a brain wave in the middle of the night? Has that one remaining A-level student decided to email me their homework at 2:00am or not?

As I said; information is power.

Hanny Kusumawati · Non-Profit Co-Founder

I check my personal email first thing in the morning as I’ll usually find some lovely emails in there that will lift my mood throughout the day. I leave my work email until later in the day.

Declan Ferguson · Student, Social Media Manager

I generally look at the notifications on my lock screen in the morning as a glance. I normally leave it until I am on the train; twenty minutes is great time to scan and clear my email.

Due to my job, I am constantly online with email. I even get one when a phone call is coming in.

Sahil Parikh · Parent, Web Entrepreneur, Author

I usually avoid checking mail until after my workout. I would love to get to it later but it just never happens.

However I have disabled push notifications for email; I want to be in control of when I check mail, not the other way around.

Jonny Blair · Frequent Traveler

I’m always itching to check it any time I can so if I have Wi-Fi in the hostel I’m staying in, I’ll check it when I wake up!

Merja Willock · Artist, Wanderer

It varies. Usually I try not to open my email for the first couple of hours, but if there is some exciting news that I’m expecting I will check it earlier.

Pei Zhenah · Sketches, Works from Temples

First thing in the morning, after my prostrations and meditations.

As I handle online projects for temples and private clients I have to check emails for any urgent requests or instructions. If the work can be done immediately I usually won’t delay. All of my tasks are usually completely within the day if possible.

Emma Milligen · Animator, Art Geek, Vegan

I don’t see to it first thing, it’s actually something I check after I’m finished my workout, cleaned myself up, and am all settled in to my work area. It just feels like something I need to do before my brain can focus on more tasks like bringing 3D models to life.

I usually go through my emails while checking up on myfitnesspal.com (the Facebook of the fitness world) and slurping down my green smoothie of deliciousness.

Julian Summerhayes · Parent, Speaker, Former Lawyer

I will look at my emails in the morning but I tend to do so on my mobile phone (a Samsung Note) because it enables me to quickly delete or archive my emails. If I have to I will deal with the important ones but mostly I will deal with them throughout the day as time permits. I am not an email maniac where I only open Gmail at allotted times. I know I could be more disciplined but, to be honest, I’m more focused on the outbound material.

Lauren McCabe · Writer, Mermaid

Very rarely do I send emails first thing in the morning. That time is too precious to me for the mundaneness of email; it is the only time I will have to myself all day, and I try to keep it free from the constant buzz that will surround me in the upcoming hours.

Krista Goral · IT Consultant, Writer

I’ll check my inbox right away most mornings, but rarely respond until later. Nothing good or articulate was ever said in an email sent two minutes after waking up.

Paul Farmiga · Marketer, CrossFit Enthusiast

I work in a world that mimics a cc’d carnival. Carnivals have carousels, we have Outlook.

There is no email until after my workout, breakfast, coffee, and shower. If there is an emergency important enough, they’ll call.

Richard Boehmcke · Writer, Stage Director

First thing in the morning.

I’m trying to grow my business into something substantial so I currently don’t have the luxury of setting rules for when I respond. I’m trying to be as responsive as possible (within means) right now so I can set up meetings faster, get clients faster, learn and fail faster.

Sarah Kathleen Peck · Writer, Designer, Long-Distance Swimmer

Recently I got into the bad habit of checking email in the morning, but it’s a terrible habit. It doesn’t really help with productivity, focus, or my core creativity—which requires a lot of “white space” for thinking and imagination.

I’d rather not check email or messages until 10:00am or so, after I’ve thoughtfully considered the days’ space, my energy, and the big-ticket, longer term items I want to work towards.

Paul Jarvis · Website Designer, Author

I’d love to be one of those people that checks twice or day, or writes for 3 hours then checks email for the first time, but I’m not that guy. I go through spurts of attempting it, but I fail at it.

Since I work for myself, there are sometimes things that needed doing hours earlier (for clients not in my time-zone), so I usually need to get to a task or three right away.

Sam Spurlin · Writer, Ph.D Student

I’ll take a look at it on my phone and star anything I need to deal with. Very rarely do I respond to email in the morning. I usually try to end my day wrapping up any communication that needs to happen. I try not to let email filter into my consciousness all day long.

Kit Johnson · Writer, Photographer, Reiki Enthusiast

I used to think of checking email as a rosy time when I read happy messages from my nearest and dearest. Quite recently I realised that the majority of emails are not personal but are actually little jobs for me to do, even if that job is just to send a quick reply.

My ideal approach to emails is to read them and action them immediately. I don’t live daily with inbox zero, but it’s what I am always heading towards. So I don’t check my email until I actually have some time to deal with them properly, which usually means after lunch.

To read a bunch of emails and leave them for later feels no good, and to deal with them all right now feels like work. So mornings are email-free. I try to eliminate any pressure from the morning time, reserving it for relaxation, enjoyment and taking care of myself.

Monica McCarthy · Actress, Producer, Frequent Traveler

I check my email very early on in the day, along with any messages via social media. It stresses me out too much not to know if someone wants my time or attention for one reason or another, though I’m trying to get better about waiting to reply until after my writing and other morning projects are completed.

Theodora Sutcliffe · Parent, Nomad, Freelance Writer

I’m a slave to my MacBook.

The first thing I do once I’ve got my coffee and had my cigarette is log into email, social media and my blog to respond to comments, tend to my social media accounts, and massage paying clients over email.

Sarah Athanas · Marketing Creative, Documentary Filmmaker

I like to accomplish one major task before opening my email. I once read that starting your day by checking email is a great way to let other people set your priorities for you. So true! When I screw up and check my email first thing, I fall into a fuzzy black hole and don’t accomplish anything before lunch. I dream of a day when I can live without email.

Amit Sonawane · Reader, Writer, Devout Tea Drinker

I usually answer all my emails in the late afternoon. Unless there is something pressing I am aware of in the morning, I do not check my email. I have disabled emails on my iDevices so I don’t get bombarded with notifications every two minutes.

Will Peach · Writer, Frequent Traveler

In a perfect world I’d check it twice: once after getting some crucial writing assignments out of the way, and again at the start of my evening work sessions.

Does this happen? Nope. Tearing myself away from email is one of the biggest challenges I face. The nature of the work I’m doing currently means I have to be fairly attentive to it until I can trust it all to my assistant. She’s getting used to my insane demands. It’s a Lewinsky-Clinton type of relationship.

Kashyapi · Meditation and Zen Teacher

I’ve tried many options for this, there is no golden answer. It depends on the clients I’m working with at the time. Some clients are going to send you triggering email overnight or early, if so, I’ll leave email off until late morning.

As a travelling house sitter (for over six years now), email for that account is checked several times a day, as early as 6:00am, as it is important to jump in with a response, or the sit goes to someone else. It’s an unusually competitive world, housesitting.

In an ideal world, I would do email once a day, just after lunch. But the world is in constant change, and so am I. Some clients are in Costa Rica, some in Japan, some in New Zealand, some in Europe, so it depends who I need to contact, and how soon I need a response. I work with a World Clock, rather than my local clock.

Ian Hicken · British Expat in Asturias, Spain

After breakfast I spend twenty minutes or so checking what’s happening in the world and planning any work I need to get on with. I rarely respond to email instantly but it’s good to know what needs doing later in the day.

Shawn Mihalik · Author, Rock Climber

I always have the urge to check email as soon as I wake up. Usually, I fight it, but sometimes I end up checking it. Either way, I never act on it until later in the day.

Andrew · Early Riser, Australian Francophile

As part of my routine to be a bit more productive during the day, I was on the fence about checking email and social media first thing in the morning. There’s the school of ‘get your most important task done first’ or ‘get your niggling tasks out the way first’.

I give myself half an hour in the morning to do the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & email rounds before using the Self Control app for mac, which blocks whichever websites you choose for a pre-determined amount of time.

Manuel Loigeret · French Developer and Yogi

I always wait at least one hour.

Like I said before, I play with Twitter or Facebook but no email. It’s just really bad if I check my email and some client tells me there is a problem on something or whatever (I have clients in France and when I get up at 5:00am they already have started their workday). Even if it’s not a big deal, I feel compelled to connect on Skype, talk to them. And basically I start working like that in my underwear and at 11:00am I’m still in my underwear and I don’t really feel good about myself. That’s why I try to avoid emails in the morning.