One of my most epically craptacular mornings started out with a water heater issue that meant an icy, short shower to kickstart the day.

I somehow managed to knock my coffee off the counter in such a way that it splashed all over the wall and all over me--quick presto change-o so I could get out the door.

My son was super whiny, and threw a fit when I tried to leave.

By mid-morning, I was fit to be tied. Do you ever feel like the world is just conspiring against you?

I rarely have mornings like this, but when I do, it feels like some bizarre techpreneur version of Groundhog Day, where I'm stuck in and condemned to keep reliving this patience-testing vortex.

Well, there's a reason for that, say Ohio State University researchers. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the study author says that if we start out our day happy and calm, we're likely to stay that way--but if you start out on the wrong foot... hoo boy, you're in for it!

In fact, if you "get up on the wrong side of the bed" so to speak, you're far more likely to see that bad mood persist throughout the day. What's worse, they say, is that you'll feel even worse by the end of the day.

And to add insult to injury, starting your day off on the wrong foot can make you suck at your job all day long, too.

Researchers studied customer service reps over a period of several weeks and had them complete surveys throughout the day. What they found was pretty interesting:

  • Employees who began the day in a good mood were more articulate in their verbal communications and used better grammar than their grumpy counterparts.
  • Bad moods resulted in more breaks and a 10% loss in productivity.
  • Interacting with positive people didn't pull the bad mood bears out of their slump but interestingly, interacting with negative people did.

Maybe hearing about someone else's problems made theirs feel trivial, who knows. But it seems that trying to pull a co-worker out of their funk by being super cheerful might not be the way to go.

So what can you do about it? For starters, and I've said it before, get enough sleep! We have this habit--and I say "we" collectively as a culture, and especially as entrepreneurs--to skip vacations, push ourselves to the limit, and be constantly connected. When you're checking email and working late into the night and never giving your brain a chance to slow down, your sleep quality can't be good. If you're starting every day by dragging your tired self out of bed in a horrible mood, you're sabotaging the good you could do that day.

Get up in time to do something you enjoy. Maybe it's exercise, or reading a book you aren't forced to read for work--whatever it is, make time to do something more than rushing around like a crazy person in the morning.

Eat breakfast! It's hard to be a kind and happy person when you're starving to death.

And when all else fails, go back to bed and start over. It's okay, we won't tell.

Published on: Oct 20, 2016
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