What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed each morning? Most likely, you’re part of the 80 percent of 18- to 44-year-olds who check their smartphones. A study from IDC Research reveals that we check our mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.
The problem with jumping right into our inboxes and notifications is that it steers your morning off-course. Worse, a negative email can slip you into a reactionary state and eventually you’ll enter a downward spiral of lost productivity.
In a recent Reddit AMA, Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, says that one of the biggest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours of their day on things that don’t require high cognitive capacity (like social media):
If we could salvage those precious [first two] hours [of the day], most of us would be much more successful in accomplishing what we truly want…Generally people are most productive in the morning. The two hours after becoming fully awake are likely to be the best.
Don’t check your email in the morning. When you wake up, stay clear of tasks that require low cognitive capacity. Instead, use those two golden hours to do your most difficult task or tackle a passion project.