Never Check E-Mail In the Morning by Julie Morgenstern by Julie Morgenstern - Read Online
Never Check E-Mail In the Morning
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Maintaining control in today's hectic workplace is a challenge -- everything is lean, competitive, and uncertain. What does it take to survive?

Making Work Work is Julie Morgenstern's most important book yet. Through the mastery of brand-new strategies, Morgenstern shows you how small changes in your thinking and behavior will help you achieve the seemingly impossible -- boost your value, increase your job security, and afford you the time to still have a life.

Morgenstern has helped clients of all levels take control of their work lives in every industry: from corporations and nonprofits to government agencies and small businesses; from executives and assistants to educators and salespeople. She's learned that no matter who you are, happiness at work involves feeling appreciated, in control, successful, and in balance. And achieving that is possible.

People rarely look at their jobs from a psychological and practical perspective at the same time, but Julie Morgenstern does. This book mirrors the individual consulting services she provides by showing you how to start with yourself and then tackle the more complex external issues of working relationships and the job. For every obstacle you encounter along the way, Morgenstern diagnoses the source of the problem (is it you or them?), and with insight and warmth, she provides simple grab-and-go strategies. These are small changes anyone can make to improve performance and efficiency at work.

At its core, Making Work Work is about your relationship to your job. With the reliable, methodical process taught in this book, you will:

feel less trapped and more in charge be able to make a bad situation better search for a job that's a better fit for who you are.

This is a provocative and life-changing book that will help you boost your clarity, confidence, and performance in any economic climate. With Morgenstern's guidance you can find a way to make work work.
Published: Touchstone on
ISBN: 9781439119952
List price: $11.99
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Never Check E-Mail In the Morning - Julie Morgenstern

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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?


Rita, an overstressed advertising executive, is in this situation. Forever scrambling to keep her head above water, she worked crazily long hours (7:30 A.M.–9 P.M. most nights), often lugging projects home with her on the weekends. Rita had a tremendous work ethic—but she was so caught up in a sense of responsibility to her company and job survival that she felt too guilty to take time off for herself. Yet she never even grazed the bottom of her to-do list.

Rita felt terrible. She’d gained forty pounds, and it was no wonder—she hadn’t gotten near the gym in over a year. Every afternoon, with her energy and spirits flagging, she’d keep herself going with sweet snacks and diet soda. Often, she didn’t eat dinner until 11 P.M. She suffered from chronic back pain, and her doctor warned that if she didn’t begin to lose weight and exercise regularly, her health would be at risk.

Rita kept promising her doctor that she’d start taking better care of herself, just as soon as she got on top of her workload.

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?

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.


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.


We are workaholics by nature. According to Harvard economist Juliet Schor, the average American works 163 additional hours, or one month a year, more today than in 1969 (The Overworked American). The Employee Benefits Research Institute tells us that Americans work more hours per year than any other industrialized nation—putting in an average of 6.5 weeks longer than the French workforce, and 8 weeks longer than Germany’s. Lest we forget, the United States is the only industrialized country without a government mandate on vacation time.

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.


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.

A solid work/life balance will provide you with:

• 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.


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 how close you are to the edge:

SCORING: How many Trues did you circle?

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.

Grab-and-Go Strategy #1

Let Go and Grab Hold

When you are exhausted and depleted and don’t know where you’ll find energy to tackle that next project—take a leap into the unknown. Trust that work will survive without you for an hour, an evening, or a weekend. You must embrace the fact that sometimes your best hope for getting to the bottom of your to-do list is to let go and take care of yourself personally.

What constitutes balance? Being in balance is about energy management—about spending your time on things that restore and relax you, knowing what springs you back up to eight cylinders when your engine is beginning to cough and choke. It’s about identifying when you’re close to your breaking point, then making the choice to quit for the day while you’re still ahead. If you work so long and so hard that it’s all you can do to crawl home and spend the evening on the couch staring out the window at a fire hydrant as reruns of The Golden Girls drone on and on, it’s no wonder you are feeling burned out.

Everyone’s idea of being in balance is a little different. Some people are thrilled with a Sunday to themselves once a month, while others can’t imagine life with fewer than four weeks of vacation a year. Some people find joy in gardening, while others just want to curl up with a good book every night. For parents, balance may mean time with their kids; for singles, it might constitute time at a spa with friends. The commonality among us is the guilt—no matter how we define balance, most people believe we should be responsible to work before ourselves.

Yet you have everything to gain and nothing to lose from letting go of that ledge and grabbing hold of that rock above.

Two months ago I found myself unexpectedly delayed at the Atlanta airport. I was returning from a demanding three-day business trip, which involved a TV appearance, a book signing, and research for an upcoming article. It was a Saturday evening, and I was absolutely exhausted. My mind was fried. I was running on empty.

As a result of being out of the office for four days, I had a stack of writing assignments that required my attention. All of those tasks were deadline-driven, all were important, and each required enormous creative thought and focus. Should I push through the exhaustion? I’m a workhorse; I could pull it off. It was tempting.

But the truth was that in my depleted state, I knew it would take me two to four times longer to do any one of those writing jobs than if I were rested. As much as I craved the relief of crossing some of those items off my to-do list, I decided to recharge instead—to let go and regrab.

But now I needed to figure out the best choice for the moment—what would refresh, energize, and renew me? What was the most solid rock jutting out above? Was it to stare into space and do nothing? (Nah, not so refreshing.) Take a catnap? (No. Those airport terminal seats are too uncomfortable—plus I’d worry about missing my flight.) Escape into the novel I was reading? (Nope—too tired to concentrate.)

My choice? A snack—nothing sugary, but something physically fortifying and sinful. For the first time in twenty years I indulged in the delicious juicy crispness of Popeye’s fried chicken. And watched two boys, also delayed, share their toys on the floor. Ahhh . . . a transporting escape. I crept into bed so late on Saturday night that all I did was sleep on Sunday. But by Monday, I was refreshed, and I knocked out three assignments by 1 P.M.!

You may fear that letting go and regrabbing requires drastic measures. You may fantasize about quitting your job, changing careers, moving to a desert island, seeking a more peaceful existence. But if you take care of yourself in little ways on a consistent basis, reclaiming your balance does not call for radically altering your life. The truth is, even if you do make a huge change, you may not be able to leave your hard-driving impulses