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.
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!