Why do We Make Other People’s Priorities Our Own?

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

Sunday’s are much different for many people in my case I guess that being a Small Business Owner sometimes they can be very similar to my other day’s of the week. Since I fell in love with Mondays when Sunday arrives it gives me the opportunity of starting a new week where I can hit another home run or maybe strike out a few times. But something I need to change about every day including Sunday is making sure I take care of myself and my family first.

Reading a post a few months ago on Chris Brogan’s blog and creating my post on the subject made me think on how I start my day. One of the things I do in the early morning and even if I wake up in the middle of the night is reaching out to read my emails on my iPhone.

That is the second thing I do daily after kissing my daughter good morning.

Chris made a great point that if you start your day reading email you are taking care of other people’s priorities first. As much as I like to take care of others sadly some of them don’t really reciprocate the same behavior to me. I wake up and answer emails it has been a bad habit I have had even before I had my first Smartphone the Treo 600 while working at KPMG back in 2004. I was so obsessed with answering email quickly that I even made an investment out of my own pocket to find a work around so I would get my emails forwarded to my phone while my laptop was running connected to the VPN.

The Smartphone Gave me Freedom! At Least I thought!

This helped me step away from the computer and reply to email quickly. Before I bought the smartphone I was always in the need to connect. I remember at one moment I had alerts to be sent to my cell phone via SMS so I could get alerted of email. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and taking a look at what was pending.

Automated Software that Answered My Emails

I remember on one occasion where my manager was in Australia and I was in training at Montvale, NJ. I came back from having drinks with my Indian Brothers from KPMG Afshaad and Rahul to continue working. It was about 3 am when I saw an email from my friend and manager Adrian. I replied in seconds. Adrian was somebody key in the quick progress I made in KPMG and he also had an amazing sense of humor. Adrian replied with a request to buy that awesome software that I had that answered email so precisely at all hours There was no software it was just my obsession to reply to email as quick as possible it made it a bigger priority when it was someone like Adrian who was always going out of his way to help my progress at the firm and with my professional development.

Different Smartphone platforms same bad habit

So the years have past now I no longer work for a large public accounting firm but my habits of replying to email still have stayed the same. From the Treo, to Blackberry, to my iPhone I have only gotten more efficient and the phones have even more functionality for my email needs.

Having more functionality at hands reach everywhere makes me more vulnerable to replying. Thankfully my iPhone now takes a bit longer than I would like to search for sent emails so it keeps me away from doing many things on the road, which is a good thing.

My Challenge

Overall I am going to challenge myself to stay away from emails until I get my Morning Pages done and I take care of at least one of my key priorities.

If I realize analyze most emails are a list of things I have to do to make sure someone else takes care of their priorities. However I will make sure your emails and other things get answered they are still a priority for me. I just need to get a few things out of the way so maybe I can get to have some time for my family and me at the end of the day.

I love what I do and I love helping others out but on some occasions I look around and realize that very few people are really looking out for me so I need to take care of myself first.

This goes in line with how when they give you the safety procedures on a flight they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first so you can help others.

Are you putting on that Oxygen mask first or are you helping others reach their goals without taking a look at yours.


  1. Luis O Maymí on November 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Great post. I don’t consider replying quickly to emails to be a bad habit. In fact, that a great thing to have because it shows that you care about the message people send you. I have that “bad habit” of replying to every email question I receive and I believe that habit is also migrating to social networks.
    One curiosity, how many email account do you use?

    • Raul Colon on November 13, 2011 at 10:00 am


      I have multiple email accounts that are mine like for example one for each blog we run, papaheroes.com, veglatino.com, twitpuerto.com, and corporate email. 

      I also monitor emails of multiple clients I have at CIMA IT. 

      And obviously my personal email account but where I think I got carried away was that the purpose of having a smartphone was to have more freedom but I have lost it. I think replying to email in blocks of time will still get a timely response since most emails I get are not that critical that I need to respond at the moment.