While many of us are still sleeping, highly successful people are already up and about, already beginning their workday.
Here’s a peek inside the productive habits and routines of those who thrive in their career.
Here’s how to supercharge your first hour of work and change your whole life as a result.
The first step of every day is stretching.
Before you hit those computer keys or get busy with building, planning, writing, selling or delivering, take a stretch.
There’s a reason you see crowds of folks doing Qi Gong in the city parks early in the morning: they’re warming up their body and spirit before work.
This can be you.
It doesn’t have to be a long stretch either.
Go through the basics and take five or ten minutes: you’ll be surprised how great you feel and what a difference it makes for your productivity the rest of the day.
Next up, I recommend five minutes of deep breathing.
This short time period may seem like nothing, but it makes a real difference in your ability to face the day with calm and composure.
Breathe in for three full seconds, hold your breath for a second and then breathe out for six seconds.
Follow the progress of your breath and feel your abdomen inflate and deflate with your breathing.
This practice doesn’t take long but it will make a real difference in the first hour of your workday.
This won’t take long, but water is an absolute necessity.
Without hydration you are basically a zombie demanding that your body and mind perform at a high level.
When you first wake up I already recommend drinking two glasses of water.
In the first hour of your workday you should drink at least two more glasses of water.
Coffee, tea and other beverages can count towards this tally.
The objective here is to keep your corporeal vessel nice and hydrated.
There’s really no substitute…
Your daily schedule may be already set, or you might have a blank page and your schedule might still be in flux.
Either way, spending part of your first hour getting your schedule set for the day is an optimal idea.
This may mean going through a list of what you have coming up or developing that list.
If you only have one priority for the day, put that down in your physical agenda or in your address book.
If you have a number of items for the day, go through and identify your most pressing engagement to ensure you’re fresh and prepared for when that comes up.
Before you get started on the bulk of your work, send an e-mail that gets the tone established for the day.
If you work in manual labor or a non-digital field, do the equivalent of sending an e-mail.
For example, if you work in a restaurant, talk to your chef or your fellow waiters and discuss the coming day and what to do when the lunch rush hits.
Discuss duties and how to divide the duties of the coming day. Your first hour is like your “huddle.” This is when you get your game plan fully developed.
6) Make a call
Your first call of the day is a chance to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Try to make your first call related to your priorities for the day.
You want to get yourself in the vibe for the day as a whole and get in the “mode” for what you have to accomplish today.
Take a sip of coffee and pick up the phone.
Your day is starting, and you’re going to make it a good one!
7) Set up lunch
Before you’re really in the thick of your work day, have your lunch time set up.
This gets it out of your way and makes sure you can focus fully on your work.
A hungry stomach can be the most distracting thing in the world.
When you get your lunch set or have your own lunch in the fridge, you take a load off your mind.
You’re ready to work to your fullest ability with your appetite taken care of for later.
This makes you much more productive.
If you have a staff lunch hour or food you buy at lunchtime that’s another solution.
Just make sure you have lunch taken care of.
8) Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, was developed by Italian economic thinker Vilfredo Pareto.
It’s actually quite simple.
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of useful output comes from only 20% of what you do.
In other words, we waste 80% of our time on things which don’t really lead to results and aren’t worth our time.
The solution is to identify that 20% of our work that’s our priority and that we’re most passionate about or committed to and then double down on it.
“To maximize efficiency, highly productive people identify the most important 20% of their work.
“Then, they look at ways to cut down the other 80% of their schedule, to find more time for the things that make the biggest impact.”
The early bird gets the worm
The first hour of a workday sets the pace for the rest of the day.
When you switch into gear right away, you set your sights high and are far more likely to hit your targets for the day.
By following the above first steps as a guide, you can ensure that you hit the ground running and have a lot of steam to get through the day.
When you get your day started the right way and start off with a bang, you will feel more ready to face the challenges that the day brings and have a calm and collected foundation to deal with whatever comes up.
We can never predict what the day will hit us with, but by starting off the right way, we can ensure our workday is as productive and positive as possible.
Try the techniques and routines above and you’ll notice a rapid improvement in your productivity and job satisfaction.
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