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If you’re like 99.9 percent of the working population (that number may or may not be completely exaggerated), then the sound of your alarm probably makes you want to do anything but rise and shine in the morning. Don’t fret, it happens to the best of us. We’ll show you a few ways to help make the most out of your day, regardless of what side of the bed you woke up on.
1. Establish a morning and nighttime routine. Using the winding-down hours in the evening to prepare for the next day can help eliminate a great deal of stress in the morning. The all-too-familiar scramble to get everyone dressed, fed, and out the door is not a productive or pleasant way to start the day, so take a few moments the night before to organize your outfit, gather your belongings in one place, and, possibly, prepare breakfast to save time. Also, bedtimes aren’t just for the kids – adults should also establish set bedtimes to ensure that they’re getting the necessary amount of shut-eye (typically 7 to 8 hours per night) to feel rested the next day.
2. Step into the light. Studies show that early risers are happier and more productive than night owls. (Read about why it’s true that the early bird gets the worm, here.) If you’re a night owl, then try to shift your schedule so that you’re gradually going to bed earlier each night, and you’ll find that your circadian rhythm (or internal clock) will slowly allow you to wake up earlier over time. By waking up earlier, you’ll find that the extra “quiet time” in the mornings will help you better prepare for the day ahead without the usual chaos ensuing.
3. Schedule time slots to check emails. Studies show that emails are one of the top distractions in the workplace. The constant interruption of new email notifications is enough to make the most focused and productive people give in to the curiosity of those tiny intrusive pop-ups. We all know that curiosity killed the cat, so don’t let it kill your day, too. Simply schedule times to check your emails during the day, for instance, first thing in the morning, before lunch, and once more at the end of the day. MindTools.com also suggests that workers configure their email settings to receive emails at certain times of the day, or, at the very least, turn off any and all email notification alerts so that your “flow” isn’t interrupted by emails. Here are a few more tips on email management so it doesn’t become a bottleneck in your day.
4. Most meetings are a waste of time. We believe Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals, got it right in their book, Rework, when they say, “They [meetings] often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone's time with nonsense.” To save yourself from “morons” wasting your entire day in meetings, try suggesting the techniques listed here, or choose a more unconventional, yet effective method known as “walking meetings.”
5. Eliminate the clutter from your desk. Did you know that, according to Huffington Post’s infographic, an estimated 76 hours per year are wasted due to disorganized desks? Go figure, a messy desk hinders an employee’s productivity. It’s a bit of a surprise that companies don’t provide new employees with mandatory time-management and organization training to help promote efficiencies across the workforce. If you’re looking for a way to give your desk a makeover (or make-under), then Lifehacker has just the article for you, “How to Clean Your Workspace – And Keep it That Way.” Don’t let a disorderly workspace be the reason why you’re not getting the most out of your day (and career).
It’s not too late to implement these simple changes in your day-to-day, but start slowly and with a goal that’s reasonable for you to attain. You’ll start to see, over time, that your emotional state, productivity, and overall well-being will improve and you’ll start looking forward to the once dreaded sound of your morning alarm.
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What other ways help you to make the most of your workday? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.