You can maximize your productivity by taking full advantage of the first few hours of the workday. Jumpstarting your day the right way will not only get you started on the right foot but can help prevent those dreaded end-of-day crises from erupting. Leverage your morning hours as effectively as possible by following these seven simple steps.
1. Be on time
While some executives and managers don't have a strict schedule for reporting to work each day, you will be much more effective if you 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 you, but those early hours tend to be quieter and more distraction-free.
2. Check in with your people
A ten-minute meeting with your key people is a great way to start the day and to keep everyone motivated and on course. Discussing the daily plan of action at the beginning of the workday will give people a reason to be on time, and get them focused on their responsibilities. Try to incorporate a little bit of fun in your meetings, and remember that the best way to motivate people is by being positive instead of negative.
3. Tackle what's most important
Is there a call that you're dreading making? Then the morning is the time to make it. Tackle the important tasks on your to-do list first to clear your mind and to 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
Do your best to remain 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. Ignore the computer screen, put down your smart phone, and simply liste--even if only for 5 minutes. Giving your employees the attention and respect they deserve will encourage them to come to you with more and better ideas.
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 upon arrival at the office. Increase your efficiency by setting up online news alerts that will send you articles on the topics that interest you most.
6. Plan a mid-morning break
Whether it's a quick walk around the office, a cup of coffee in the break room, or a phone call outside, taking a quick break during the middle of your morning will give you a refreshed viewpoint on your current situation, which can lead to breakthrough thinking and new ideas. Encourage a coworker to join you during your break so you can work through issues or kick around ideas.
7. Create 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 them and keep it on your desk. Paired with your to-do list, you now have a double dose of focus and prioritization.