For most people the workday starts when they sit down at their desks. We grab a coffee, turn on the computer to see how many emails are in our inbox, and we immediately start thinking about how we are going to juggle the competing priorities of tasks stacked on our desk
But our workday actually starts long before that – or at least our ability to influence how the day will go begins before we ever enter the office. Mindfully practicing strategies that set us up for success helps create an atmosphere from the outset that can in turn influence how we respond to whatever pops up in the rest of the day
Here are 5 tips for starting your workday off right
The first thing we can do to influence our day actually starts the night before. There is a good chance that you are not getting enough quality sleep. Adults require at least 7 hours of sleep to be able to concentrate, problem solve and reason effectively. Not enough sleep also interferes with our ability to remember things.
It’s not just about getting to bed at a decent time. We need to unplug from our technology too. All that LED light messes with our sleep hormone melatonin which regulates our internal sleep clock. So go to bed a little earlier and leave your devices in the other room.
Get up with an attitude
The alarm goes off. Perhaps you hit the snooze button, or stay snuggled under the covers because you are not quite ready to jump up and embrace the day. What we think about while we are lying in bed has a direct impact on what we will experience throughout the day so we might as well make it work for us.
Before your feet hit the floor, take a few minutes to think about the quality of the day you would like to have. You can’t control many of the circumstances that you will encounter, but you can control how you will show up. Instead of running through your to-do list, choose a word that creates an intention for your attitude for the day: productive, calm, supportive, curious or whatever word would best serve you. When you get to the office, write it on a post-it note and stick it on your computer as a reminder.
Commute with a purpose
Unless we work from home, we spend some time getting to the office. This is a great opportunity to set our day up for success. Be purposeful in how you use your time. Listen to some music that energizes or relaxes you. Learn something new by listening to an audio book or podcast. Choose your most important priorities for the day and then strategize the best way to focus on them. Not good uses of your time include worrying, being frustrated with traffic, listening to anything that agitates you or engaging in distracting activities.
Enter the human race
When you cross the threshold of the door to your office building, it’s a good signal to pause and remember the intention word you choose earlier. It’s also a way to reinforce that you are part of a community of workers, not an island all by yourself. It’s the human race, not just a rat race. Focus on making eye contact and smiling. Chat in the elevator. Use the time it takes to get from the door to your desk to turn your attention outside of yourself. This not only builds connection but it helps highlight the bigger picture – a little more we and a little less me.
Manage your distractions
Once you finally make it to your desk and your “real” workday begins, take a moment to commit to a “one thing at a time” strategy. Trying to juggle multiple tasks is simply not an effective approach no matter how well we think we can. Multi-tasking actually reduces efficiency and productivity. Determine your highest priority, work on it, then switch tasks. While the workplace may have many external distractions out of our control, many of the things that pull us away from the task at hand we actually initiate ourselves. Fewer distractions means that the workday ends as well as it starts.
What’s your best tip for starting the workday right?
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