Never Check Email in the Morning

And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work

The New York Times bestselling author, Oprah's favorite organizing expert, and America's number one problem solver presents a revolutionary book named one of the five best business books by Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines.

It will help readers achieve the seemingly impossible: boost value and job security without sacrificing personal life. Morgenstern teaches innovative "grab and go" solutions that can be processed in as few as fifteen minutes to dramatically improve performance and efficiency.

If you've ever wondered, Is it me or is it them? Julie Morgenstern's practical "inside out" approach will help you diagnose the source of each workplace problem and solve it quickly.

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What People Are Saying

Written in the same to-the-point approach as her Organizing from the Inside Out, this volume...makes a whole lot of sense [and] is practical and applicable to the real world.
— Publishers Weekly
What a great book. Here in one place you learn how to get organized and get more done faster than you ever thought possible. This is a handbook for personal success.
— Brian Tracy, Author of Time Power Wow!
This book is brimming with great ideas for making our working lives better. And when work is working for us, that’s when we can serve ourselves and others best.
— Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The On-Time, On-Target Manager 

Until you change the way you work at things, the things you work at will never change. Julie teaches how to change those things and become more energetic and efficient at work. This book is a must for anyone who loves to work.
— Pat Riley, president, the Miami Heat

Excerpt from Never Check Email in the Morning

Chapter One: Embrace Your Work/Life Balance

Picture this: You're hanging off the side of a cliff by your fingertips. Gravity is pulling, and you are slipping down, down, down. You see a large rock jutting out just above your hand. Your only chance of survival is to let go of the narrow ledge you're sliding off and quickly grab hold of that big rock above. For one split second, you won't be holding on to anything at all -- you'll be suspended in midair. What would you do?

For many people, breaking away from the gravitational pull of work is extremely difficult. In fact, it's counterintuitive. You'd think that if you are struggling at work, you should try to fix things on the job first. Certainly, improving your performance at the office will give you more leverage in asking for some work/life balance benefits, like extra time off. So why would I make "Embrace Your Work/Life Balance" the first competency rather than the last?

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Because in the crazy, sped-up, pressure-cooker world of work, our personal lives are usually the first thing we sacrifice. That puts us in a precarious situation -- when our balance is off, our performance suffers, along with our happiness and motivation.

If you are feeling overworked, exhausted, and depleted, the first step is to let go at work and take care of yourself. Though it may feel like breaking away from the office could be deadly to your career, embracing your work/life balance, even with something as simple and straightforward as catching up on your sleep, is actually one of the most effective ways to improve your productivity on the job.

Not Just Nice, but Necessary

Mastering your work/life balance is not just a nice idea -- it's necessary. The extraordinary stresses of today's workplace require you to take control of your work/life balance and to make sure that the time off you do have is rewarding, refreshing, and energizing. Creating a vibrant personal life is one of the best investments you can make in your work! If you don't stop to reclaim your work/life balance first, you will never have the energy, creativity, and wherewithal to learn any of the other competencies presented in this book -- let alone improve your work performance.

The concept of reclaiming a balance between work and life may strike you as a fantasy, impossible under the stresses of the modern workplace. It's not.

Top-Tier Performers Are Committed to Their Work/Life Balance

In every industry I consult in, I've noticed that the top-tier performers are deeply committed to their work/life balance. They may be working long hours, but they are very thoughtful about their leisure, so that they make excellent use of time away from the office. This is a critical skill -- especially if you're working long hours, because you have fewer hours to play with in the first place.

The most successful workers create a balance that ensures they are energized, refreshed, and renewed every day. Their balancing act isn't perfect, and it requires constant attention -- but they are vigilant about maintaining that balance, because they appreciate the continuity between home and rest, work and productivity.

  • Energy. The more energized you are, the more productive you will actually be. When you are burned out, you move more slowly. You may not realize it because your judgment is off, but simple tasks can take two, three, four times longer.
  • Accuracy. When you are rested, refreshed, and in balance, you think more clearly, making better, swifter choices. You don't waste time doing work over, or correcting mistakes.
  • Innovation. The best ideas often come when you step away from your work and stop staring at a problem. A change in environment or activity -- going for a drive, visiting a museum, or just taking a shower -- often stimulates innovation, enabling you to solve problems in new ways.
  • Patience. A rewarding, enjoyable life outside work makes it easier to tolerate frustrations at work. It's easy to lose perspective when you are working fourteen-hour days -- little problems can become treacherous monsters.
  • Motivation. Being in balance enhances your overall quality of life, which makes you feel fulfilled and enlivened with a sense of purpose. By creating a life that you enjoy, you can flip the switch -- and begin "working to live," instead of "living to work."

Are You Slipping Off the Edge?

How far off balance are you? Are you hanging on with both hands, your fingers, or just your fingertips? Circle True (T) or False (F) for the following eleven questions and find out close you are to the edge:

T F I'm constantly feeling sleep-deprived. Artificial stimulants like sugar and caffeine are the primary way I keep myself going.

T F Things take far longer to do than they used to -- I'm operating in slow motion. It's hard to make decisions, think clearly, prioritize. Sometimes I'm in a daze.

T F My fuse is very short -- I've become cranky and quick to anger over even the smallest annoyances.

T F I've gotten out of shape and/or gained weight because I have no time to exercise or eat properly.

T F I haven't been to the doctor in ages -- just too busy at work.

T F Vacation! What's that? I sometimes fantasize about getting sick, just so I can take a break.

T F Many of my friends and family are often hurt or disappointed because I'm never around.

T F I'm putting too much stock in work -- it's my only source of recognition and self-worth.

T F I used to love (gardening, painting, listening to music -- fill in the blank with your favorite pastime), but I don't have the energy to enjoy it anymore.

T F I'm always too tired to do anything other than collapse at night and weekends. I'm in a constant state of exhaustion.

T F During the workday, I have to steal time for myself -- doing personal email, calls, taking a shopping detour after lunch -- because I have no time for myself otherwise, what with the twelve- to fourteen-hour days I'm putting in.

SCORING: How many Trues did you circle?

9-11 Danger zone -- need rescuing

5-8 Losing your grip

1-4 Good balance -- keep it up

Obviously, everyone works hard these days...and finding time for a personal life is a challenge we all face. Mastering your work/life balance will give you the incentive to acquire the rest of the competencies in this book, and be a happy and successful top-tier performer.

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Julie Morgenstern with Gregory Mantell on Never Check Email in the Morning.

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