Most of us are in such a rush to get ready for work every morning that we neglect to do the kinds of things that can give us an edge and make us more productive and effective. The good news is that we can jumpstart our day by making a habit of doing certain things in the first few hours of each workday. Here are 7 simple ways to get off on the right foot—and to be more successful at work in the process.
1. Arrive on time—or even a little earlier
Arriving late to work is a sure way to fall behind before we even get started. It’s much better—and we are much more effective—when we consistently arrive at work on time or perhaps even a little early. Not only do you set a good example for the people who work for and with you, but those early hours tend to be quieter and more distraction-free.
2. Check in with your people
A short meeting—no more than five or ten minutes—with your team is a great way to start the day and to keep everyone engaged and working together. Ask each of your people what they plan to accomplish during that day, and make sure these plans fit with the overall goals of the organization.
3. Do what’s most important first
Is there a phone call you’re not looking forward to making, or an important report that’s due on Friday? Then the morning is the time to accomplish these most-important tasks. Doing so will create the momentum that will carry you through the rest of your day. Save less-important tasks for later in the day, or delegate them to others, so you can keep your focus on what’s most important.
4. Be present with others
Be present during all your interactions with employees, customers, vendors, and others. It’s easy to get sidetracked thinking of the things that need to be accomplished, but giving employees your undivided attention during conversations and meetings ensures that you really hear what they say. The result will be happier, more engaged, and more effective employees.
5. Catch up on the news
Take a few minutes to catch up on what’s happening in your industry, with your competitors, and in your community. You can do this at home while you’re having breakfast, or soon after you arrive at the office. Be more efficient by setting up online news alerts that will send you articles on the topics that interest you most.
6. Take a break
At about mid-morning, take a short break. This could be a quick walk around the office or just a cup of coffee in the break room. Taking a quick break during the middle of your morning will give you a refreshed viewpoint, which can lead to breakthrough thinking and new ideas.
7. Make a “Not-to-do” list
You know the distractions you should be avoiding, the ones that consistently suck time and energy out of your day? To avoid getting sidetracked, make a list of these “not-to-do” items, and keep this list on your desk.