How Successful Women Spend Their First Hour at Work

Despite what your morning routine looks like, how we start our workday is just as important as what we accomplish throughout it. Whether you’re the person running to your desk after 8 am or the one (still) gossiping to your coworkers an hour later, the day is in your hands and the way you spend your morning determines the tasks on your calendar.

Blame it on the forwarded emails that are sitting in your inbox or the distracting text messages that are blowing up your phone, but sometimes our mornings are more exhausting than they are efficient. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you get to the office, here’s how to spend your first hour at work in order to have more control over your mind — and your workload.


1. Greet your coworkers

How you perform at work is essential, but how you communicate with those around you is what will make it enjoyable. Although you don’t have to go out of your way to be everyone’s best friend, it’s nice to form connections — especially with the people you see 40+ hours/week.

Stop to chat with a coworker about her newborn baby, follow up on your manager’s new hobby of hiking, and overall put in the effort to remember the details. By doing this, you’ll not only enhance your relationships at work, but the number of tasks you accomplish while you’re actually there.


Source: @stilclassics


2. Check and update your to-do list

With changes happening on a daily basis, the fact that your client canceled an event on you last-minute means the list of tasks you made yesterday now looks completely different than the one you have for today. Making a to-do list is good practice, but remembering to double-check your tasks before starting on any of them is the best process. When you know that you’re working on essential tasks, you’ll feel better prepared to make the most of your time and save yourself stress.


3. Tidy your work area

Work can get chaotic — but your desk doesn’t have to be. With deadlines to meet and distractions to avoid, it’s difficult to expect to finish your work when there are candy wrappers covering the majority of it (really though). Sure, having a clean work area might not be the answer to getting your job done, but it can definitely be a factor for why you might be struggling to accomplish all your tasks.


4. Prioritize your tasks (with your most dreaded one first)

Similar to taking charge of your to-do list, remember to organize your tasks by priority and try to do the one you’re least looking forward to first. We all know how it goes — although leaving our heavier tasks to the afternoon sounds nice, the big lunch we ate is sitting in our stomachs and the idea of taking it on at that point is weighing on our shoulders. To avoid this struggle, tackle your harder tasks at the beginning of the day so that you can give yourself a chance to relax towards the end of it.




5. Skim your inbox and only answer high-priority emails

Although this sounds counterproductive, the act of only replying back to time-sensitive emails during your first hour of work is another efficient way for you to filter out what you need for the rest of the day. Before you fall into the common routine of spending two hours of your morning replying back to (what seems like) endless emails, recognize which ones can and can’t wait. In general, you should focus on what you need for yourself before you commit to what others need from you.


6. Take some time to reflect on what’s important to you

From thinking about your career to being thankful for your family, our thoughts are powerful and the first ones of our day should be positive. Along with setting the mood for the morning, your ability to remind yourself of what matters to you will also re-ground you for the future. So instead of your usual morning scroll through your phone or the typical jam session with your playlist, enjoy a moment to yourself and start the day feeling proud and productive.


How do you usually spend your first hour at work? Tell us in the comments below! 


  • Kati Boldt

    I spend my first hour (esp. Monday) catching up on all my fav blogs!!!! Not that productive but I’m calling this post a win because it’s all about PRODUCTIVITY! 😉 Luckily I work in the Private Brand/Trend Department at my corporation and it’s part of my job to stay up-to-date on trend blogs

  • If only for educators this was a reality. LOL . I spend most of my first hour calming crisis situations, answering emails and talking to drop in parents.

  • I love this! I’ve been really trying to be more productive at work since the start of the new year, so these are perfect tips for me. <3

    Charlotte |

  • I love this! I’ve been really trying to be more productive at work since the start of the new year, so these are perfect tips for me. <3

    Charlotte |

  • Hanny

    I actually was asking myself if theeverygirl had an article on how do women starts their first hour of work and this came up!
    I start off with having my breakfast at the desk since I have a long commute. I take a look at my calendar to see what meetings I have to do and if i need to prep for them. After this, I take a look at my to do list and see if there is any tasks/projects that needed to be finished or at least started from last week. I also take a look at my top priorities for this week and start re do my to do list via Google Keep. Once I have it organized then I use my Productivity Planner. After I do that, I skim through my email and look at the ones that are high priorities.

  • S

    Since I usually get to the office before everyone else, half an hour before work starts (being late makes me so anxious that I always end up getting everywhere super early), and I usually eat breakfast+have coffee at home before I leave, I always get to my desk, turn on my computer, make sure there are no life-or-death e-mails I need to reply to, and then I pull out my diary and write a few pages, check my bullet journal and update it for the day or read a few pages of the book I’m currently reading. I like to give myself that half an hour of quiet and relaxing time before I need to tackle the day. It soothes me and I feel I’m a lot more focused when I do this. If not, I will catch up on some blogs or Youtube videos I might want to watch.

  • When I get to work, I usually boot up my computer and clock in then go and get some coffee. Free work coffee is the best coffee after all. Once that’s prepared, I usually chill in my office for a bit just checking emails that came in over night (usually very few) and take inventory of what needs to get done for the day. Then I pull up a music playlist and get to work.

  • These are SUCH great tips, thanks! I just read an article on another blog similarly titled to this one, and it was interviewing successful women. Basically all of them said check in on their team and catch up on what’s changed over night – which is nice, but not realistic for us normal people not running fortune 500 companies. So I really appreciate this list! High priority emails is a good tip, along with tackling your most difficult task first. I used to put those off and found myself working late and being too exhausted to do a great job. Thanks for the advice!

    Eva |

  • I love these tips! I try and integrate them in my morning as much as possible 🙂

  • Brenna Biggs

    I make sure to use the ABCDE method when making to-do lists so I know my priorities are straight!

  • I have a giant cup of tea and then catch up on what’s come in on social media overnight, especially comments to answer and urgent emails.

  • ɐllǝq

    Great post! Really helpful xx

  • Amie Melnychuk

    I do a version of bullet journaling for my work to-do lists. And this is all written down, not typed. Which forces me to step away from my computer and makes a part of my day tactile.

    1. I keep a goals list for the entire week, I do this on Fridays based on what I accomplished that week and what I know if upcoming.
    2. When the workweek starts I assess the goals for the week and schedule at least one of them into my day and assess my emails and other tasks that come my way.
    3. During the day I write down any task that is sent to me or any update that is required. I prioritize items that are needed that day, and pluck away at the bigger goals.
    4. Completed items get a check in my list.
    5. Incomplete items get a > to transfer it to the next day. This makes me assess how many days I am pushing an item, and why I keep putting it off.
    6. Meetings are marked with a “o” and get another page altogether for notes in my journal. Any tasks from that meeting that are assigned to me, or I will be needing the end result from are flagged with a colour-coded sticky flag as requirement or task. That way when I get back to my desk I can reassess my bigger goal list and add my tasks to the list.

    My system helped me get on track with multiple timelines and not forget requests. It has come in handy when I need to go back to notes to prove what was said in meetings or to show when items were requested of me.

  • Al

    I do almost everything on this list except keeping a tidy desk :p
    It seriously looks like a bomb exploded LOL

    But there, you convinced me to finally tidy up tonight before leaving the office 😉 so I can start fresh on Monday!