What I do first thing in the morning tends to set the tone for the rest of my day. Starting with my email inbox inevitably sets me up for a day of reacting to other people's agendas and unproductive "multi-tasking." When I begin my day with an hour spent on a high-impact project, though, things tend to flow more smoothly. I accomplish more and feel that sense of "flow" more frequently. I also am happier and more energetic.
Hour One matters because it sets the tone for what’s to come. If you start off well, it’s relatively easy to keep going: you feel motivated by what you’ve achieved, so you carry on doing great work.
Conversely, if you spend the first hour of your day bogged down in trivia or rushing to catch up, you may well find that you get more and more behind. The day rushes on – or drags – and, at the end of it, you don’t feel much sense of satisfaction.
Getting the first hour right will set you up for success – and keep you on track towards your goals.
Here's a 30-Day Experiment for you. Instead of checking your email first thing in the morning, try using the first hour of your day to focus on some aspect of your professional development. You can use it to:
- Read a business or career-related book.(The Start-up Daily is a great resource for book ideas.)
- Address one or more of these questions for reflective practice.
- Build your professional network. Doing a favor for someone, thanking them for their work or writing a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn can be great ways to start the day.
- Think about important questions in your industry or occupation,
- Participate in an online course or community discussion.
Putting your professional development at the start of your day will ensure that you devote time and energy to it. It will also set you up for learning throughout the remainder of your day.
What do you do during the first hour of your day?