Starting your day with three productivity wins can go a long way to setting the tone for the remainder of your day, so we’ve collected our top three quick tips for starting the work day off right. The philosophy behind this method is that you will accomplish and approach the day with a thoughtful morning, so you don’t just muddle through the hours trying to get a foothold on your tasks thereby feeling frustrated with your lack of productivity.
1. Check and respond to email
First thing in the morning, address new email messages for a set amount of time. If there is something that requires more than a simple reply either set it aside for number two on this list, or telephone the person to follow up because a quick conversation takes less time than waiting for emails to go back and forth. Once you’ve finished checking e-mail, avoid it again until the afternoon, or whenever you’ve set aside time to focus on it. Do not keep checking it as a minute here and there add up to a distracted and choppy mindset all day.
2. Make a list
Detail what needs to be done today with awareness of urgency, importance, and the tasks that fall where the two overlap. The time management matrix is helpful for this. The list does not need to be completed in the same day, but having the priority tasks down on paper frees up your mind to focus on solutions not remembering what comes next. As you make your list, look on your desk for files, scraps of paper, notes, and anything else that points to unfinished or important work that needs tending to. This way as you work through your list, you are also tidying your desk.
3. Accomplish one or two of the simple, almost easy, tasks
Go for a few easy wins on your list because there’s nothing like getting stuff done first thing to set a productive tone for the day. This way, you’ve started the day with success that gives you a sense of momentum for your more challenging tasks. An example of an ideal first task might be to refile the stack of paper on your desk. It is ideally a small, but satisfying thing to accomplish. Not only does this check an item off your list, but it also makes your desk look like you’ve made huge progress.
Taking control of your day first thing helps you embrace positive momentum while getting into the right frame of mind. Not only does this translate to greater focus throughout the day without having email distractions, untamed tasks floating through your head, and smaller, easier tasks cluttering up your workflow, but also forward progress to overall goals throughout the course of the day and your projects.
What would be your satisfying yet simple task to kickstart your day’s productivity momentum?