The beginning of your workday is important. Many people feel as though they get the most accomplished during the first couple hours of the day, whereas others take a while to get warmed up. Whichever camp you fall into, these early morning minutes set the tone for the rest of the day. There are some things you should never ever do during these critical hours. Avoiding them should help you get your day started on the right foot.
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1. Drink coffee.
I know, I know … starting the day with a delightful coffee treat is the carrot dragging us out of bed half the time. But, if you get enough rest, you don’t really need coffee quite so early. A few hours after you’ve woken up, you’ll start to feel a dip in your energy levels, and that is the time to caffeinate. Delaying your coffee just a little while might help you have more consistent stamina throughout the day. Again, though, this only applies if you’re getting enough rest to begin with.
2. Say, “I’m tired.”
Here’s the thing — everyone is tired. When you remind your colleagues that you’re exhausted, it causes them to think two things. First, you remind them of how tired they are, (they were trying to forget), and they won’t appreciate you bringing it to the forefront of their attention. Second, they will roll their eyes at you, secretly, as they know that everyone is doing their best to push through this kind of thing, and yet you complain…. Additionally, does it help you to talk about it?
3. Open your email.
It’s a habit, maybe almost a ritual, for many to begin desk-time with a little email check. Productivity experts agree though that checking email too quickly, or too often, won’t help you attend to your goals. So, pick a few times to deal with your inbox throughout the day and limit your emailing to those times — but never before 10 a.m.
4. Talk about what happened yesterday.
Maybe you had a difficult meeting, or a conversation turned a corner that you’d like to correct. Handling tough situations, facing them directly, is important, but maybe not the best way to start the work day. Instead, give everyone a chance to get in, get caffeinated, and feel settled before bringing up tough stuff. If that feels awkward, try telling the involved party that you’ve been thinking about what happened and you’d like to speak with them about it after lunch, or at least, after 10.
5. Get involved in what’s going on at home.
It can be hard to focus on work when there is a lot going on in your personal life. Try using your working hours to take a break from all of that though. This is your time to attend to your professional duties. If you start to write that email to your brother that you’ve been thinking about sending, it will be on your mind for the rest of the day. Allow yourself to be fully present at work, at least for the first couple hours of the day. Your personal troubles will still be there when it’s time to tackle them.
6. Get derailed from attending to your top priorities.
This is essentially the advice driving most of the items on this list. It feels great to knock off a big action item or two. Start your day by attending to your top priorities. It will set you up to feel successful, strong, proactive, and positive for the rest of the day.
7. Make any sudden movements.
A lot of people aren’t at their best first thing in the morning. So, even if you are, these early hours aren’t the right time to drop any major bombs at the office. Schedule earth-shattering meetings and/or announcements for later in the day. You should be better received once everyone is feeling a little more present and alert.
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