When I first heard this advice to keep social media at bay for the beginning of your day, I was asked to carve out a lot longer than 20 minutes.
I was told all about the benefits of putting my agenda before everyone else's and how more creative I could be by not seeing what everyone else was doing before planning my day. I decided I would try it for a short period of time, but truly my heart was not entirely sold on this.
At the time I was managing the European subsidiaries for a multinational corporation while living in California. I was eight hours behind the work day when I work up in the morning already and the idea of taking time in the morning to craft the day for me was completely scary.
I was sure I was putting myself even further behind the eight ball by not being aware first thing in the morning of the tragedies that awaited me at the office. I was certain that it truly wouldn't make much of a difference to my mood in the morning. I didn't suffer from anxiety or depression so I really didn't figure there would be much affect.
For a week I followed this regimen and I didn't look at work email, personal email or social media. I crafted my three objectives for the day, began a gratitude practice and sometimes even snuck in a short meditation. It was nice, but I didn't really see a huge difference.
Then the following week happened and I went back to my regular routine - because hey, the experiment was over. Well, that's when all the lessons showed up for me.
No longer did I wake up peacefully and softly enter into my morning, I was greeted by to-do's and trouble, things that awaited me at the office, some that I really didn't want to deal with. The thing with my routine is that it didn't help anything except gave me dread about the office and what awaited me.
You see I didn't have enough time to address anything I saw on my email before I left the house, so I stewed about it all the way to work. I was living in California in Silicon Valley, so the way to work was already torturous! I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish for myself for the day because I immediately back-burnered my needs for the immediate issue at hand.
I arrived at work already stressed and uptight versus the week before when there were no fewer issues, just a better me walking into the office. I dare say the week before I had been even more productive because I got right into my email once at work and could manage issues immediately upon learning of them.
This was my experience and I have seen similar benefits in other people's lives. I encourage you to try this out for a week. I'm only asking you to wait 20 minutes before checking those emails, however, if you can actually wait until you arrive at work to check work, and wait until a break in the day for social media, I think you will reap tremendous benefits.
Let me know how this works out for you. I'm always interested to hear about other's experiences.