Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

First 60 minutes can make your workday

  • Print

Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

Fortunately, this wasn't meant to be taken literally, but is a colourful metaphor for smart time management: get the most undesirable task out of the way first thing, and the balance of your day will go much smoother. Tackling the least desirable job first may come as a bit of a surprise strategy, especially to slow starters who prefer wading into the workday one toe at a time, but it's one way to ensure you make the most of your first 60 minutes of your day.

Here's another quote from economist Richard Whatley that's not only a little more palatable, but underscores the importance of hitting the ground running: "Lose an hour in the morning and you will be all day hunting for it."

Some of the most successful people in the business world use their first hour in surprising but effective ways. For instance, Tumblr founder David Karp says he does not check his emails from home first thing in the morning because it doesn't feel good or productive. Plus, he says, if the matter is truly urgent, he knows that someone will undoubtedly call or text.

For most of us, checking our overnight emails as soon as our bleary eyes can focus is like a reflex. But Karp might be on to something here.

Resisting the temptation to scroll through messages eliminates unnecessary distraction that keeps us from concentrating on those "frogs" that need to be handled first thing. By checking your email first, you risk doing what someone else wants you to do instead -- and why give someone else the power to change your top priorities?

Here are some other strategies for getting your day off to a great start:

Arrive on time. Showing up late for work can derail your entire day, not to mention that it makes an unfavourable impression on your co-workers and boss. But getting in on time helps get your mind in the game and promotes a feeling of accomplishment.

Take advantage of the peace and quiet. If possible, getting to work before anyone else lets you set your own pace and stay on track. Without the interruption of the phone ringing and no one to look over your shoulder or stop by to gab, you should be able to power through the work that needs to get done.

Fuel up mentally and physically. If you're not a morning person, do whatever it takes to come in to the office with a positive attitude even if that means taking time to stop for breakfast and a second cup of coffee. Your mood affects others, so be aware of the impact your attitude has on their day.

Start with a clean slate. While you may have to work on unfinished projects, treat each day as a new one with fresh eyes and a clear perspective. This renewed approach may help you come up with innovative ideas and tap into previously-overlooked solutions to problems.

Take a deep breath. Do something to focus on the here and now, rather than bringing any baggage from home or a stressful commute to your workplace. Slow down and take few precious moments to calm and centre your thoughts before slipping into work mode.

Reward yourself at the 60-minute mark. When you successfully complete the tasks you needed to finish, mark the end of the hour by giving yourself a mini-reward: a coffee break, a breath of fresh air, a brief stretch and walk around the office, a chat with a co-worker or even a little treat. You've earned it.

Leave a to-do list at the end of the day. Determine tomorrow morning's priorities and create a list of what needs to be accomplished in the first hour of the day. You'll appreciate the reminder of what's what while clearing away those morning cobwebs. At the same time, organize any needed materials so that no time is wasted once the clock starts ticking.

The first hour of the workday sets the tone for the following seven hours, so make sure you use it wisely by charting a course for a successful day. By remaining committed to positive habits every morning, you should be able to end your day on a productive note.

-- With reporting by Barbara Chabai

Colleen Coates, CHRP, CCP, is a practice leader with People First HR Services Ltd. She can be contacted at ccoates@peoplefirsthr.com.

RESEARCH:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000619/what-successful-people-do-first-hour-their-work-day

http://www.actioncoach.com/8-Steps-To-Help-You-Organize-Your-Work-Day?pressid1041

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/08/24/14-things-you-should-do-at-the-start-of-every-work-day/

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 6, 2013 H2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Architect Antoine Predock speechless after CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google