Start your day applying this morning routine!
For me, the first three hours of my workday are the deciding factor between an unproductive blur of a day, or me killing every single task on my list. And there’s no middle ground, either.
So it’s no surprise that there are endless stories out there detailing the particular and, sometimes absurd morning routines of the world’s most productive people (e.g. Tim Cook’s 4:30 am email blasts). For this reason, there are a lot of studies on the “morning routine”, and what it takes to formulate the perfect jump-start to our days.
Since most office work these days is fairly autonomous – especially in companies like ours – I decided to do my own research into what makes the most productive morning routine at work.
What happens before you get here is out of my jurisdiction, however – so don’t worry about us suggesting a 4 am meditation session.
Check emails once and turn off notifications to better start your morning routine
On average, employees spend up to 6.3 hours on work emails per day. Email is one of those workday tasks that’s totally necessary, but also takes up way more time than it needs to – with virtually no tangible results. Constant notifications can be hugely distracting throughout the day and kill your workflow. It takes on average 20 minutes to refocus on a task once you’ve been distracted. Schedule just 5 minutes at the start of your morning to check emails and then turn off all notifications. Your mind will be clear of pressing issues right away, so you’ll be able to settle into deep work periods much quicker.
Write down 3 – 4 vital tasks:
One of the biggest productivity sins is an out of control to-do list. I’m definitely guilty of filling up my to-do list with tons of small, menial tasks just so I can cross them off. I dedicate far too much time to getting them done, even though they don’t result in anything substantial or productive. Now, after checking email, I write down 3 – 4 vital tasks a day, that will help move forward my goals. Stick to scheduling your time around these, instead of trying to check off a bunch of items on your to-do list.
Time block your day:
Now you’ve got your 3-4 vital tasks, schedule your day in blocks centered around them. The idea is to dedicate long periods of uninterrupted time to important tasks, so you can get yourself into a state of “deep work”, where you’re at your best. Quality work comes from deep work. The only way to get to a state of both productivity and quality is to get rid of all multitasking and distractions. Scheduling your day with the goal of deep work for each vital task is a must.
Integrate a face-to-face meeting or video call into your morning routine
With the vast amount of digital, distant communication, it’s really easy to become unmotivated or misunderstand goals. Right away in the morning, I schedule my video calls to get the details squared away and feel personally connected to work. When I’ve talked to someone face-to-face, I’m way more motivated toward our collective goal and less likely to procrastinate.
Schedule breaks ahead of time:
Another huge productivity killer is burning out. If I schedule my day and just keep going, it’s not long before I start getting distracted and losing focus. To avoid this, at the beginning of the day, schedule breaks in between your blocks of deep work to clear your mind and keep motivated. During my breaks, I give myself time to take care of menial tasks (e.g. checking emails) that don’t require concentration. Also, if I know there is a break coming up after a period of work, I’m more likely to stay focused and power through the work.
I take about 30 – 45 minutes to run through these steps and set up my day. And really, it saves me hours throughout the week.
Give these tips a try and see if they work for you! If your team is looking for a productivity and collaboration solution, try Hibox free today.