The Best Possible Start To Your Day
Not enough time in your day to accomplish everything? Implementing these five strategies may be all you need do to derail the time bandits and get back on track. Eminent corporate writer, journalist, communications consultant and author, Robin Madell, has the following savvy advice to share. (Source: U.S. News & World Report, On Careers)
The start of the day sets the tone for everything that follows. Therefore, it's important to be conscientious about how you jump-start your early hours if you want to generate more energy and enthusiasm throughout the workday. Here are five morning rituals that can help lead to a happier and more productive experience all day long, no matter where you work.
1. Get started sooner. As tempting as it is to hit the snooze button again, early risers tend to be both happier and experience a higher level of general satisfaction in life, according to a 2012 study from the University of Toronto. With that in mind, therapist and social worker Jennifer Rollin notes that making the decision to wake up earlier has significantly improved her morning routine. "When I wake up early I have more time, and subsequently feel less rushed," says Rollin. "In addition, there is something peaceful about being awake before most people are up." Rollin cautions that, like any habit, this one may take some time to stick. "To start, try setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than you would usually wake up. It is also important that you go to bed earlier, as sleep deprivation will only serve to decrease your productivity and overall happiness."
2. No email with eggs. Many people launch their day sucked into the black hole of email. Yet this practice can drain your focus and productivity from your own priorities, putting other people's agendas front and center and derailing fresh morning momentum that could be spent on strategic initiatives. To avoid this poor start, Richard Humphrey, CFO of ImagineAir, an on-demand air travel service, is a stickler for allowing absolutely no email before breakfast. "I like to start my day with a fresh mind and real conversations with my family before starting into email," says Humphrey. "Simply put, let your brain wake up first before assuming the iPhone prayer pose."
3. Implement a "power hour." As an alternative to breakfast with email, Felicite Moorman, CEO of BuLogics, which designs, builds and certifies wireless solutions for The Internet of Things, recommends everyone in the company take a "power hour" at 10 each morning. "A power hour is a deep, uninterrupted dive into the hardest, most challenging thing on their list," Moorman says. "Our mental energies are at their highest and everyone in accomplishment mode creates an intensity, and respect for that intensity that is palpable." She adds that even if you can't do a team-wide power hour, the tactic provides a great way for individuals to get a feeling of efficacy and efficiency that lasts the whole day.
4. Suggest a walking meeting. Nothing says "yawn" like starting the morning with a boring meeting. Instead of sitting in a stuffy room watching PowerPoint or listening to long-winded discussion, suggest that your team take a walk together in the morning to discuss the day's agenda. Steven Handmaker, chief marketing officer of Assurance, an independent insurance brokerage, reports that this plan is currently being implemented in his office with the use of standing desk treadmills facing each other in the meeting room so that employees can get active during morning meetings. "People tend to have more creative thinking ability while they're active," Handmaker says. "Investing in just a few of those trendy standing treadmill desks is a great way to provide value to the whole staff and not have them feel the pressure of having to use it all day." He suggests that if the equipment investment is too high, teams can still take meetings outside and walk in a nearby park.
5. Nix the negative. Many of us are creatures of habit, which can serve us for good or for ill. If your morning rituals trend toward the mind-numbing, it may be time to make some changes. Marilyn Suttle, president of Suttle Enterprises, a professional training company located in Michigan, suggests taking a week to observe your typical morning patterns to determine what wastes your time and leaves you feeling drained or unproductive. "Is it a quick morning Facebook check that consistently steals a half hour or more of your morning?" Suttle says. "To be polite, have you become the victim of a co-worker's daily morning gabfest? Do you start with self-criticism and shortcomings from the previous day? Notice the pattern, and you can change it."