There are a bunch of articles right now about what to do first thing in the morning. Â Most tell you not to check email, not to take phone calls, etc. Â The problem is, that would STRESS ME OUT! I totally get the people who say you shouldn’t get caught up in things without some thought at the beginning of the day, but the system has to work for you.
I recommend determining what causes you stress – what things have to be done to make you feel comfortable. Â When I worked for my Dad, I thought it was fun to find out he walked into the office, put his things down, got a cup of coffee and stood in his window drinking coffee, reading the Wall Street Journal and watching people out the window as he planned his day. Â It was his work ritual and it worked for him (of course that was before email but you get it).
Apparently Mark Twain said if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning you have that out of the way and the rest of the day has to be better. Â Seems kind of gross, but the message makes Â sense. Â It is why I have one client who doesn’t allow herself coffee until she makes 5 marketing calls. Â By getting those calls out of the way before her day begins, she is able to get them done and feel good about her productivity. Â PERFECT.
For me, I need to start my day feeling organized and on top of things. Â If I can do that, I’m in control all day. Â The challenge is I often work right up until I have to end my day and don’t have time to clean up at the end of the day. Â So for me, that first 30 minutes is critical for organization. Â I go through my emails and add items to my To Do list (on Wunderlist but that’s another post), answer the quick stuff quickly, and flag articles for reading. Â I also check my Nerd Approved RSS feed and read Dilbert for the fun of it because if I can find something fun at the beginning of the day, the tone is set. Â If there is time, I also check in on social media to see what’s up with the rest of the world. Â And, if there’s still time, I file. Â Because filing is the worst. Â The person who invents papers that file themselves (and I don’t mean electronic stuff – that doesn’t count) will be my hero.
I truly believe if you set yourself a morning routine that is something planned, you win. Â All this advice about not checking email or ignoring things, or whatever are systems that work for some people and that’s great for them. Â But don’t just do something because it works for Tony Robbins or some such. Â Instead, try several different things over a couple weeks and see what things make you feel productive and ready to face the day. Â And then do them.
And as a side note, the last thing you do before you leave is check your calendar – I’ve been stood up a lot lately by people who didn’t mean to but who didn’t remember the meeting. Â The worst? Â It was on their calendar. Â They just blew it. Â Don’t let this happen to you!