I've often commented on the importance of work/life balance, and how taking a vacation helps to restore a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, when we return to the office, the first thing many of us do is sit down to check all our email. And email is a real productivity killer. I rarely do email first thing in the morning anymore; it's too "reactive". I prefer to look at the bigger picture, and I can't do that if I immediately get into a "reactive" mindset by responding to email.
So I was excited to read this article from FastCompany: What successful people do with the first hour of their work day. The first thing they list isn't a "do" but a "don't" - and it's "don't do email". So already we're on the same page. Here's their list of things to do with the first hour of your day:
- Don't check email, it's only distracting and draining.
- Gain awareness. Use i-time to think about the things around you.
- Do the big stuff first. You have the most energy right away in the morning; don't waste it.
- Remind yourself of a big task that you should do the next morning, and leave materials out for your future-self so you can get started right away.
- Ask yourself: are you doing what you want to do? If you answer "No" for too many days in a row, take some time to reflect on what you should change.
- Maintain relationships. The article refers to this as "customer service" but really it's about connecting with others.