E-mail is an every day party of life. I don't know many people who go a day without checking their e-mail, and most people check it at least once an hour, even on the go with their smartphones. In most cases, people feel like checking their e-mail when they begin work in the morning is a part of productivity, but it can also completely derail you from your tasks. One click leads to another, and you're working on a project that you meant to work on after a more pressing project, or you've found your way onto social media, shopping websites, or just have gotten completely distracted.
Yes, there are things in our inbox that need attending to, but I feel like we need to break away from the inbox to actually get more work done. I've decided to STOP checking my e-mail first thing when I get to the office. Instead, I take an index card, write down things that MUST be completed in that day, work on those first, then check e-mail, which will undoubtedly add more items to my to-do list. This way, I know I'm getting things done that I need to get done, before working on whatever needs have sprung up over night.
I got this index card idea from Rosetta at Happy Black Woman who suggested this technique for being productive every day. Combining the index card list, with not checking e-mail right off, is helping me get more done and stay focused.