Studies indicate that human beings are better able to handle challenges early in the day, and that peak energy and alertness for most of us is at 8 a.m. Really.
Also, fewer interruptions at that time. This isn’t to say you can’t effectively handle large tasks later; as every planner knows, you often have no choice. The long-term odds of success, however, favor you when you take on the day’s biggest challenge as early as you can — perhaps as the very first thing.
Just what you want to read first thing on a Monday morning, right?
Still, if you’re like many meeting professionals, you do do your best work in the morning. To work even better, try this. When composing a to-do list — regardless of how you order the items — identify the vital challenge you face that day, circle it or draw an arrow from it to the top of the page. Make it clear that this is your first priority. Then clear away any minor hurdles that might impede your ability to get started.
Own your space
Should you rearrange your workspace accordingly? Then do so, not to stall, but because you’ll be making logistical changes that help your performance.
Do you need to tell others that you shouldn’t be distracted? Do so. Clear stretches of time are your best chance to be productive, especially when taking on something new, something that requires highly creative thinking or something that’s unfamiliar.
Each distraction, however fleeting, can turn into a full-fledged interruption. Interruptions in and of themselves aren’t so bad and, on average, last only minutes. The problem: A typical interruption leads to other activities that can last up to 25 minutes.
You’re more likely to be distracted as the day goes on versus early in the morning. So you have good reason to attack your biggest to-do’s as early as you can. Then, no matter how difficult the challenge was, the whole day tends to go better.
Major victories early in the day have a way of affecting the rest of the day. Freed from the psychological baggage of handling the task, as well as the mental and physical effort necessary to do so, you almost automatically consider, “What other great things can I accomplish today?”
What other tips can you share for early-morning productivity? Please use the comment box below.