The lightning check

I work with many leaders from many different countries. And during the training, I always have them do this simple exercise:

Go to your inbox and check the last 10 emails you have received. 

Then, I ask them a question: 

Out of the last 10 emails you’ve received, how many will truly have a long-term impact on your performance? 

And the average answer I get is this: 


In this video, I want to make one suggestion that will allow you to start your day much more productively.

I know that for most people, what they do in the morning once they get to the office is check their email. But if 90% of the email you’re receiving will have very little long-term impact on your performance, why do you want to spend the best time of the day on them? 

So, here’s my suggestion:

Block out the first hour and a half of your day to work on your key priorities.

This is the time when your brain is fresh and you’re at your best. So, it’s the best time to think about your more important priorities – your long-term priorities. 

Now, a lot of people tell me: 

“Yeah, that’s all well and good. But I’m in a global role. And I receive lots of emails during the night and I need to check them.” 

That’s when I suggest they do a lightning triage for five minutes in the morning.

This is what I do every morning, and here’s how it works: 

I open my inbox for a quick check – a lightning check – just to see if there are bombs. If there’s a bomb, I can either reorganise my day or forward the email to someone in my team for them to handle the bomb straightaway. Once my five minutes are up, I close my inbox and then focus on my most important priorities for an hour and a half. 

So, my question to you today is this:

What do you do first thing in the morning when you come into the office? 

This is this week’s Work Smarter, Live Better tip. I hope you enjoyed it. 

A bientôt,

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