Be Productive First Thing in the Morning

Once upon a time, I was a morning person.  Good thing that was back in high school, when I had to be in class at 7:30AM!  In all seriousness, though, mornings have become more difficult for me since having two young children.  However, I recognize the necessity of starting the day off right.  I’ve found that the earlier I attack my work, the more productive and satisfying my day will ultimately be.  Here are 5 tips I have incorporated:

Start on Time

Obviously, it’s critical to show up to the office on time if you have a clock-watcher boss who is taking notes.  But even if you work for yourself, keeping to a regular start time ensures that the day runs according to your schedule and that you aren’t in a frazzled state of mind.  This means leaving ample time for your commute, coffee, etc.  If you are the type of person who takes a little while to get going once in your office, consider sitting down a bit earlier.

Focus Mentally

A friend of mine takes a 30 minute yoga class every day before work.  In my opinion, this is the perfect strategy to calm yourself sufficiently to give your job your full attention.  Women in particular are not as good at separating home life and work life as men are.  So if you find yourself rushing into work like a chicken with its head cut off, close your eyes and take some deep breaths before you turn on your computer.

Prioritize the Day’s Work

It’s easy to respond quickly to that first urgent e-mail, and next thing you know it’s two hours later and you haven’t gotten anything done.  Before you jump on your social media bandwagon, sit down with your to-do list and map out what you need to do that day, and in what order.  Becoming familiar with your peak productivity time should help you plan.  Leave yourself some free time in case anything urgent comes up out of the blue, but try to stick to your schedule as much as possible – especially in the morning.  You can reward yourself with mindless Internet surfing later when the work is done!

Clean Desk = Productivity Booster

A disorganized workspace is a disorganized brain, so clear your desk of anything that doesn’t pertain directly to the day’s activities.  Doing so each morning will prevent things from piling up and ensure that you don’t miss an important note or assignment left by your co-worker or manager.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Remember that old AT&T slogan?  The morning is the best time to use your phone because the person you are calling is most likely to actually pick up.  And if they don’t, it’s still more probable that they will respond to you and give you what you need by the end of that work day.  Be wary about leaving voicemails as many tend to ignore them.  Follow your voicemail up with an e-mail also sent as early in the morning as possible.

How do you stay productive throughout the day?

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • Mike

    Starting first thing is probably my most challenging problem. I’m trying to develop the habit of getting up earlier. Give me some to prioritize and exercise, which is my way of focusing mentally. Big fan of the endorphin’s! :)

    To stay productive in the day I have a very short list of high impact to-do’s and I try and get them done, but often I’ll spend to much time deliberating which actions are more important and then procrastinate by tidying my desk.

    I read something on what most successful people do in the morning’s to get some more ideas. If you are interested I would love for you to check out my blog:
    http://wp.me/p34yCK-2D

    [Reply]

  • Tony Husted

    Years ago I read Millionaire Next Door and I remember distinctly that one of the things that was common with most millionaire’s are early risers. At the time I was used to staying up until around 2am, and realized that I was wasting a vast majority of the day. I had always classified myself as a night owl and thought it was “cool” to stay up late, I mean it must be because my parents had rules saying I shouldn’t! I made a conscious decision and set my alarm for 5am. It was not enjoyable for about 2 weeks and I had to pry myself out of bed. This simple change had a deep impact. Most of my friends weren’t online, no one was calling me, there was nothing but infomercials on TV, and no e-mails were coming in, so I got substantially more done right out of the gate. As a Life Coach now, my clients who are early risers tend to be more successful. If I find out that my client is a Night Owl, I actually recommend the book Millionaire Next Door, and ask them to specifically read that Chapter!

    [Reply]

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