19 February 2014

8 great ways to start your working day

Do you struggle to get motivated or find you're wasting time during work? Here are 8 ways to help you start your day productively

Do you find yourself reaching for the coffee as soon as you walk through the office door?

No matter where you work or what you do, sometimes everyone can struggle to get motivated, especially first thing in the morning. Here are some great ways to make sure your day in the office gets off to the most productive start.

1. Be punctual

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. If you are in a rush and running late, you will feel stressed and irritated before the day has even begun. If you arrive at your workplace a little bit early or on time, you’ll feel happier about yourself and feel more relaxed and productive.

2. Eat breakfast

How many times have you been told that breakfast is the most important part of the day? Having a healthy breakfast really can set you up for a productive morning, particularly something that releases energy slowly like porridge or muesli. If you can't face eating first thing, why not try a juice or smoothie? 

Don't forget to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day too. 

3. Jumpstart your day with exercise

Whether it's a simple stretch or a run round the block, any kind of movement in the morning will help to wake you up fully both mentally and physically. Even just five or ten minutes of exercise can help to supercharge you for the day ahead. 

If you don't have time in the morning and really can't set your alarm five minutes earlier than normal, try some activity during lunch. This can help to refocus you for the afternoon. 

4. Take each day as a fresh start

Try not to bring problems and worries from the previous day with you when you start work. You may well still need to deal with those issues, but look at the day as a new beginning and work out a positive plan of action for the tasks that you need to tackle.

5. Be cheerful

If you arrive in a bad mood, this can create a negative work environment for other members of your team and impact the rest of the day. Even if you are not naturally a morning person, try to make an effort, particularly during the first hour you are in the office, to be cheerful and positive. This will boost staff wellbeing by helping others to feel motivated and energised.

Smiling may make you feel better, even if you started off feeling grumpy. So approach the day positively and you're more likely to have a productive day.

6. Set yourself goals and priorities

Planning can help you to work smarter so you can get more done with your day.

Use the start of your day to organise exactly what you want to achieve and what your main priorities are. Make a to-do list and identify which tasks are urgent. Try and get the most important jobs done first so you feel a sense of achievement and they are not hanging over your head for the entire day.

Work out when you are most productive or creative. For many people, this is at the beginning of the day, but if you're not a morning person, this may be later on. Keep this in mind when you're scheduling your work and aim to do the most difficult tasks when you're at your peak.

7. Don’t check your emails

No one is denying emails are important, but you can fall into the trap of tackling them first and then getting delaying important tasks. If you have email notifications set up, these can also distract you in the middle of other assignments.

Set aside a time later in the morning to tackle your inbox when you have already achieved something, or at set intervals throughout the day. And when you do look at your emails, scan them quickly to work out which ones are urgent and return to the less important ones at the end of the working day.

8. Communicate with your staff

Starting the day with a short meeting can be a good way of ‘rallying the troops’ and making sure everyone is focused on the tasks in hand. However, keep it short and don’t make the mistake of getting everyone sitting down with a coffee.

The key is to communicate effectively and so your team can hit the ground running, thereby boosting staff productivity. A quick 10-minute catch-up in your office or around people’s desk should be enough for staff to feel like they are in the loop and are clear about their aims for the day.