Plan Your Workday’s Start For Maximum Efficiency

Your first few minutes at work can set the tone for the entire day, so don’t waste them. Here are some tips for launching a productive day from the very start:

• Arrive on time. Nothing throws you off your game like having to catch up with everyone else. Get the rest you need, and give yourself plenty of time to show up when you need to be there.

• Settle in smoothly. Don’t take too much time for this. Spend just a few minutes reviewing your to-do list (updated the night before!) and checking in with your boss and employees. Plan your day, but be ready for interruptions as they arise.

• Check messages—briefly. Don’t bother answering every email and phone message you’ve received since yesterday. Review them quickly, deal with any that require immediate attention, and then move on.
• Think. Your brain is fresh in the morning, so use it to make plans. Review your long-term goals as well as your most urgent tasks for the day, and spend a little time analyzing your priorities so you can put your energy where it will do the most good.

• Choose your most important task first. This may be the task you least want to do, but putting it off will only distract you and drain your energy. Look over your to-do list and pick the job that will have the biggest impact, and take it on while you’ve got maximum energy and the fewest interruptions.

• Plan a break. Don’t push yourself to stay at peak energy all day. Schedule a quick break at some point in the morning so you can double-check your priorities, revise your plans, and get a little rest to prepare for the rest of the day. Enjoy a “brain snack” such as trail mix, peanut butter and toast, or hummus and vegetables.