Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many of us find that if we are off work for whatever reason it can be all too easy to get into bad habits in the morning, perhaps staying in bed for longer, not getting dressed until later and later, and then suddenly noticing the time. People who are out of work or work from home can find that their mornings pass quickly, with less and less being achieved. And in an office environment it can be tempting to waste the morning covering old ground and repeating work from the night before, becoming undisciplined and a little aimless.
Here are some ways to start the day well and be more productive in the morning:
- Write a list at night of the things that you aspire to achieve the following day. Prioritize it. Some jobs will have a natural urgency to them, like ordering tickets or client deadlines. Other jobs may require input from a third-party before they can be completed. Those jobs need to be started promptly so that they can be passed quickly onto the next person.
People can find that their weekends are frittered away as they dither about the best way to spend their time. Before they know it lunchtime has arrived and half the day has been wasted. It can be useful to draw up a plan for the weekend in advance, say on the Friday evening; if the day is wet they will visit shops or busy themselves with indoor activities and chores, if it's a dry day they'll go for a walk in the countryside. Being organised can allow for flexibility but also provide guidance and structure.
- Self employed people and people who work from home can readily fall into the trap of being unproductive in the morning; they watch the news, read the newspaper over breakfast, put a load of washing in and then realise that they've not started their important work-related tasks. Start the day well by setting the alarm to awaken at a reasonable time, get up promptly, shower and dress for work. Being more organised can make for a better attitude with which to start the day. Some people find that having a designated work area where they keep office hours helps them to be more productive. It reinforces their sense of discipline, professionalism and their commitment to taking work seriously.
Working in a less formal office setting can mean that distractions are easily available. But if a friend phones or something urgent comes to mind be firm and insist on attending to it at another time. Make a note so as not to forget it, but insist on staying focussed on the task in hand.
If a task cannot be finished by the end of the day it can be useful to spend several minutes making notes as to what has been done and what has been put into action. Then, when it is next returned to, there are ready notes that provide an instant update and a clear outline as to the next step required. This can save an inordinate amount of time repeating what has already been done. An efficient system can help improve productivity and save time.
- Many people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Allowing a few minutes to have a healthy, nutritious bowl of cereal, piece of toast or boiled egg starts the morning well and can pay dividends in terms of energy levels and productivity. It avoids a mid-morning dip and allows concentration and performance to be maintained through to lunchtime.
Mornings can be the most efficient time of the day. Ideally, fresh after a good night's sleep, not yet stressed from the day's demands, morning can be a time of quality output and activity. Some people like to arrive early at work. They avoid the rush hour traffic and are able to sit quietly, working undisturbed by phone calls and other people's conversations. A little planning can make mornings a more productive time of day.