How Successful People Start their Day

How Successful People Start their Day

All hours have sixty minutes, not all hours are created equal. Some will fly by as you are “in the flow,” doing something you find exciting and fulfilling. Others will crawl – often this involves a dentist’s chair. But of the 24 hours in a given day, the most important is your first.

Consider your “bad” days. They probably started off poorly; oversleeping, being surprised by a meeting on your calendar, skipping your workout. Conversely, your “good” days probably started out with enough sleep, a good breakfast (protein!), and a well thought-out plan for the remaining 23 hours.

In the summer of 2012, Fast Company looked at how successful people spend the first hour of their day, and not one included getting bogged down in tasks and processes.Just as we did in high school homeroom, our first hour should include private reflection, reviewing our schedule, catching up with our colleagues, and choosing the One Big Thing that you want to accomplish for that day.

Stay Away from the Minutia. Diving into tasks and processes reverses the control of your day from your choices to others’ choices.

Connect. Connect with your colleagues, your guests or your clients. Your own version might be checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions of mentors, and just generally handling the human side of work that quickly gets lost between task list items. These connections are far more vital than any item on a to-do list.

Gain Awareness. Be Grateful. This could involve exercise, motivational reading (or blog!), or, as Tony Robbins suggests, 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.

Choose Your Frog. Mark Twain said, “ if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day and nothing else looks so bad.” Use part of your first hour to choose your frog and determine your plan for eating it.

Ask Yourself if You’re Doing What You Want to Do. In his commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs reflected, “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

What do you do with the first hour of your workday to increase productivity and reduce stress?

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