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Starting Your Day Off Right

What if I was to tell you that the first hour of each day will influence how constructive and successful, you'll be the rest of the day. The first few minutes at the office can be the most hectic since once you set down, and turn on your computer, the stress starts rolling in. Successful people tend to create morning rituals and routines that push back against this stress, creating an ideal environment for effectiveness and efficiency.

If you find yourself having trouble starting well, there is hope. You don’t have to struggle to get the most out of your day if you follow the suggestions below.

Be Proactive

We need to be proactive, but our actions can set us up to be reactive. When we begin our day in a reactive state it is hard to escape from this. According to social psychologist Dr. Ron Friedman, if you spend the first 10 minutes of each day checking and answering email, you’re priming your mind for a reactive state. Rather than go on the defensive each morning, take that time back and re-frame it to “me time.”[1] This might be a quiet cup of coffee prior to turning on your computer, taking time to thumb through the paper, or even a few minutes of prayer or meditation. Regardless of what you choose to do, your first step in the day should not be reactive.

Make a Plan

One of the first things I do following my cup of coffee and a few minutes of quiet time, is devise a plan based on what I know I will need to accomplish on that day. Setting up a game-plan will make the day feel less formidable. I still keep a paper planner. It may seem a little old-fashioned, but the tactile piece of writing my plan works better than recording it digitally into my phone. When a task is accomplished, crossing it off my list feels a lot better than hitting the backspace button on my phone.

Get Comfortable

Nowhere is it written that the office must be unpleasant. What if it was nearly as comfy as relaxing on your sofa at home? You should figure out the most ideal work set-up for your productivity. Maybe that’s a standing desk, a pillow behind your back, or even as a young lady in my office has, an exercise ball. I know that not everyone is blessed with an office window, so if not, get outside. There’s an entire field of research (chronobiology) that shows light is what triggers the body to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that tells the body to sleep, and be more alert. (And conversely, experts know that not being exposed to enough natural light throughout the day can trigger mood problems like depression or low energy.[2]

When it comes to starting your day, take it from someone who has learned some hard lessons over the years. Set up the essential ingredients each day for success. You don’t need to worry and be distracted by every single item on your schedule the moment you walk in the door. Be deliberate about starting well and focus on what you can get done, not what is out of reach.



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