Research, workout, or write down your thoughts each morning. Don’t check email, as that’s paying someone else.

Email, while a dominant form of business communication isn’t effective: The more you respond, the more emails you’ll receive. The tool is over burdened for its initial use case. You’re teaching your network you’ll forever be reactive.

I pay myself first. I focus my priorities on the tools that will maximize my time. For example, rather than responding to multiple emails or conversations on one topic, I leverage broadcasting tools, like a blog, or this site, Medium to answer a single topic, for all to read, just once.

This isn’t a new concept, as many financial advisers will suggest that you invest in your future (funds, roth, 401) before fully paying down your debt. In the long run, your compounded growth of investing in larger payoffs will yield a greater nest egg. This same concept applies to how you spend your time, each morning.

Imagine if everyone around us (colleagues, partners, vendors, family) was a little less reactive, and instead invested a bit more growing themselves, perhaps we’d all be better off.

So there you go, resist the instinct to dive into email each morning, instead pay yourself by reading, investing in your wellbeing, or sharing your insights with others. You’ll increase your value by growing, demonstrate to your network you’re not just reactive, and you’ll hopefully feel that you’ve accomplished more.

Ergo, pay yourself first each morning, don’t check email, as that’s paying someone else.

(I wrote about this a few years ago on my blog, re-purposing and editing for this abbreviated format in Medium)