What Successful People Do the First Hour of Their Workday

A friend turned me onto the above mentioned article. It’s worth reading and made me wonder what do SitePoint members do the first hour of their workday?

I am scrupulous in planning next day’s work at the end of the day. Yet, I find that often I don’t like the looks of my task list in the morning and do other things instead of what I should be doing. Generally I check e-mail first and add anything important there to my task list. My next stop is here and then I start working my list. However, more often than not I start with the easy things and by the end of the day, the difficult things are still undone and get “planned” for tomorrow. Not good. :frowning:

The article says something about eating a frog first. (A quote taken from Mark Twain.) That’s maybe a better way to go about things. What do you think? What do you do in the first hour of your workday?

Dear Linda:
Thanks for a great article. I was a CIO for close to twenty years. I arrived at work two hours earlier everyday. The first 15 minutes I closed my eyes and meditated, then looked at my physical inbox to sort the critical from the unimportant and dealt with anything that needed immediate attention. I then turned to my email and did the same with the email. I then scanned the techincal journals to see what new technologies are coming down the pike. Finally I put together a task list for that day. By that time people would start trickling and I will have a breakfast meeting with my top Directors and they briefed on what transpired yesterday and what their action plan for today was.

If there are no emergencies (servers down, email down, etc), contrary to the article, I typically check email, look over support requests, and get a general mental task list together. I tend to rank things that are broken over requests for new accounts/features/installations/projects.

Thanks for sharing the article.

The first thing I used to do in the morning was to check my inboxes and social networks. Then, I found that as an avid blogger, it is incredibly useful to spend at least one hour in the morning to write something between 500 to 750 words because distractions are at their least in the mornings.

Once the writings are done, I will then check my email and go through as many of them as possible within the allocated hour. Items on the to-do list are next.

I am still finding ways to perfect my routine and as the only person working on the business, I find routine tasks such as scheduling posts on social media outlets, accounting, emails and filling up Excel spreadsheets for tracking purposes are stifling creativity and stopping myself from doing things that really matter. Finding ways to automate these tasks is one way to go and the next step will be to outsource some of these once I have a written documentation set up.

I like your idea about spending just one hour on e-mail. I used to check it several times a day. Now I check it twice – once in the morning and once in the evening. As I check it, I add anything that needs a reply to my task list.

Like you, I am a one-person business and it is very easy to become bogged down with administrative duties. I have tried several task managers including an on-line application but either they were too in-depth or not deep enough.

Recently I found a GEM of an app – NoteCase pro. It is a cross-platform outliner that works in OSx, Windows, and Linux. The more I use it, the more I like it. In addition to easy task management, it keeps tracks of all my notes both business and personal so that absolutely nothing falls through the cracks. There is a free “NoteCase” version, but it doesn’t have quite all the things I need. While NoteCase-Pro is not free, it is quite inexpensive and offers several licenses. If you want to configure things so that you can do them your way, it is certainly worth a look.

[FONT=verdana]I have a stringent rule. I do all my admin stuff (bookkeeping, emails, etc) at the start of the day. Then I put it out of my mind, and concentrate on real work.

When I want to take a short break, I head over to Sitepoint (or the other forums I use) and spend a few pleasant minutes chatting to others. Then back to work.


Other forums? Where… what? You use OTHER forums? :eek:

When I came to work, I start day by reading few news. Sometimes I spent several hours with news. I thing it is time killer, but you have so much free and interesting informations, it’s hard to stop.

That is really not good,well you do a normal things checking email and work on it,In Finland i seen a lot of businessman which do more a lot of task everyday and they are all difficult.Most of the time i use to manage ryhmaekalenteri or group calendar and it is always my task.Quite not good also.

hmm maybe thats where I am going wrong…!
First hour involves reading the Daily Mail website, FB, Emails and making a brew.
Really must take this job more seriously sometime VERY soon!

Nothing gets done until the first cup of delicious tea is getting glugged!

(though I do tend to use my short commute to skim blearily through twitter, FB & email too)

I do a morning meditation that takes just under 30 minutes, then I spend about 20 minutes listening to music, drinking coffee and planning my day before I even look at my email or do a single task. I have a basic approach where I evaluate the priorities/tasks/progress for the previous day and rebuild the plan as if it were fresh each day. Over the years I’ve settled on a very simple paper-based system for managing large and small tasks - I use postit notes and a corkboard to keep things on track.

Typically I check email for the first time at around 10am. Once you check that inbox the incoming mail will try to dominate your day, so I always like to have a super-clear set of priories and a rough plan for the day before I brace myself for the first mail check.

That sounds like a great process, Sagewing. What time to you start this process?

It depends where I am but usually I start my day at 8, and try to start working at around 9.

That’s interesting. I find that I need to start that process earlier. The world seems to be buzzing too much by 8am. I love the quietness at dawn, but I often stay up too late to enjoy it. Bad habits … :frowning:

Yea I would like to start earlier, but having a 4-year old in the house really affects the schedule :slight_smile:

I too find that I feel more accomplished for the whole day if I can check off my biggest tasks first. I then reward myself with a little fb to de-stress a bit. Then its on to the menial but necessary daily tasks. Its all about playing around with your schedule until you find what works best for you. Some morning people might want to reverse my schedule to accommodate the time it takes their brain to function at its best. Just stick with what works once you find it.

I suspect your problem is not really about the first hour of your working day. As you mentioned the difficult tasks are pushed to the next working day so try to look at the big picture and reorganize your working week.

With good planning you can start your week with easier tasks and leave the heavy tasks to the middle of the week.

So Mon-Tue do tasks that you good at, Wed-Thu difficult tasks and Fri for what ever is left on your list.

I think that having powerhouse days and high efficiency isn’t a matter of how you schedule your time, really. It’s more about how you prioritize your tasks. I sometimes do harder things in the morning to get them out of the way, but usually I schedule my day based on how I can have the best overall outcome for the least amount of effort. Mostly, your success is based on your decision about how you will be spending your 5-6 hours of actual work time more than when you will be doing what.

I just failed on the first one. I seem to be a slave of emails. I feel the need to answer them right away. Plus, I get to receive all these crazy notifications on my iPhone. I think I have to work on that.

Here’s another related article I could add to this discussion too. Richard Branson’s secrets to productivity.

Been reading a lot of productivity and success articles recently. Just need that kick of inspiration to do all these things!