We all have our morning rituals. The series of tasks we always do to get our day started. A lot of productivity experts say that morning is when we are at our sharpest and when we get the most work done. It’s key to put our best foot forward and get the most out our mornings. Streamline your mornings at the office with these tips.
Plan your morning the evening before
Live by the saying “a productive morning starts the evening before.” Go into your morning as focused as possible by already deciding what tasks require the most attention in the morning. Decision-making takes time and mental energy, so don’t waste it in the morning. Instead take a look at your schedule, emails and other reminders before retiring for the evening and plot out what you need to do, first thing in the morning when you get into the office.
Don’t Spend Your Morning in the Inbox – Use Priority Sorting
One of the top distractors to a good morning flow is our email. Going through each message in our inbox and writing responses can be a huge time suck to our morning. Emails that lead you to the web are even bigger distractions, since you may find yourself surfing the web after reading an article a coworker sent you. Most of our morning email isn’t urgent to begin with, so why bother with the distraction? Not to say all emails are time wasters, and in some cases may require an immediate response, there are ways to sort the important from the unimportant.
Most email clients have a priority mail feature that helps you sort urgent business from the chaff. In Outlook, you can set certain emails with a certain subject or from certain senders to end up in the Focused Inbox and Gmail has a method to tag messages as important which helps it sort urgent mail from non-important mail.
When you open your email, read and respond to your priority messages, then close it and don’t open it again until you finish the rest of your morning tasks.
Within your department, group or immediate coworkers, begin the ritual of a group huddle once everyone is in the office. Not a meeting or anything formal, but a quick chat to discuss what your day will be like and what, if anything, you need from your coworkers. This huddle can be as quick or as long as you need it to be, but the point is to have everyone at one spot so you can say whatever you need to say before everyone goes to focus on their separate workdays. If there’s not a lot to discuss, use it as an opportunity to get your socializing for the morning in and build your team’s relationship.
Tackle the Biggest, Most Unpleasant Tasks First
Mark Twain famously said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” People who take cold showers in the morning sometimes follow this philosophy of starting the day with something unpleasant, so they can easily tackle whatever else the day has in store. You don’t have to take a cold shower every morning or go on an amphibian-heavy diet, but you should prioritize your biggest tasks first.
Start your day with the tasks you dread, or would normally put off as much as possible. There’s no room for procrastination with this method and everything else in your day will be a breeze by comparison. These unpleasant tasks can include a superfluous meeting you’ve been putting off, pitching a project to your supervisor or filing a tall stack of paperwork. Just make sure this task is worth your time and not something that can be handled in an easier way.
If it’s a redundant meeting, brainstorm strategies to communicate with your team without the use of another meeting. If it’s filing or data entry, consider a solution like document management software to automate this tedious process. Using your time to pitch a long-needed project to your supervisor is a much better use of your morning energy. Eat your frogs, but make sure they’re the juicy, nutritious kind.
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