I read an article last week at U.S. News & World Report, it was by Jada Graves entitled, “12 Tasks That Killer Employees Finish Before Noon.” She reported on a study published by the American Psychological Association. They surveyed 700 people from ages 17 to 79. They were asked about their emotional state and preferred time of day. She wrote:
Self-professed “morning people” reported feeling happier and healthier than night owls. Researchers hypothesize that one of the reasons could be because society caters to a morning person’s schedule.
Therefore those folks are typically the most productive in around the office, and she lists 12 tasks that these “high-functioning, productive and more awake employees have completed before lunch.”
By the way – full disclosure, I’m not a morning person by nature (or shall we say by habit), but I am making that shift for a couple of reasons. I want to have most of my writing done in the morning so it can be read throughout the day, and to get a leg up on all of the reading that I do.
Here’s the list with some of my own thoughts:
1. They make a work to-do list the day before.
I’ve been doing this for a little while now. One useful tool for me is called Remember the Milk. I like the fact I can categorize, prioritize and make certain tasks recurring. I can also email new tasks if I’m out and about. One thing I don’t like is that you have to have a premium them before their mobile app is any good, but for right now just looking at it on my laptop is sufficient. Google Tasks that integrates with your Google Calendar and Gmail is a useful tool as well, and there is an app called GTasks that is free for Android users.
I found this to be a huge help to keep me focused when starting the day.
2. They get a full night’s rest.
I’m a consistent violator of this because I stay up way too late, but I can’t really sleep in that long. I’m working on it.
3. They avoid hitting snooze.
Guilty, but getting better.
4. They exercise.
I had a good routine going until about a year ago and then I let it lapse. I was given a Bowflex which I used for the first time last night. I also have a recumbent bike so I’m looking forward to getting back into this routine – first thing in the morning. I realized if I don’t get this done in the morning it just doesn’t get done.
5. They practice a morning ritual.
This is in addition to exercising. She mentions meditating, surfing the web, or reading the newspaper. For me this is having my quiet time. I’ve made a commitment awhile back that I read nothing before I have the Bible that day. Doing this in the morning before my family is up helps with having quiet time to focus and listen.
After that I can get through my Google Reader.
6. They eat breakfast.
I’ve been pretty consistent with this unless I allow myself to sleep too late. May I suggest you have protein with your breakfast. The inventor of the continental breakfast should be shot, having complex carbs are good, but just having carbs is no good.
7. They arrive at the office on time.
I work from home, but I have to establish a start time in order to provide some consistency in my life… so working on it.
8. They check-in with their boss and/or employees.
This doesn’t really apply to me, but I do have a weekly phone check-in with one of my clients.
9. They tackle the big projects first.
This is why I want to get my writing out of the way in the morning. It is the most time consuming and it is when I am at my peak. Not to mention with blogging on current events and politics unless a story breaks in the afternoon if I wait to blog on it until the afternoon I’m late to the ball game. When I worked a full-time job outside the home I tried to get this done before going into work so I wouldn’t have to do it after.
Anyway… as I said above working on this.
10. They avoid morning meetings
I need to put this into practice more.. the exception would be if the morning meeting is the main thing.
11. They allot time for following up on messages.
Email can be such a time suck, and there are times that I wish I didn’t have it on my phone. Set a schedule for when you will check your email instead of checking it every time you get a notification.
12. They take a mid-morning break.
Great time to do Facebook and/or Twitter or get up and stretch your legs. Just don’t over do it – a 10 minute break or two. A business efficiency expert, Andrew Jensen, was interviewed and he said that companies that ban all times of social media sites or personal texting can find it detrimental to productivity and they will see a decline in employee satisfaction.
Anyway, how about you? Thoughts?