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Trade Tips: Start Your Morning Off Right

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By Nicole Hayes

How do you start your work day? Does it require a caffeine jolt? A big breakfast while watching your favorite morning show? While these things may help, we're here to share additional ways to jumpstart your morning. In a Fast Company article, “What Successful People Do With the First Hour of Their Work Day,” Kevin Purdy shares the following five tips:

1. Don’t check your email for the first hour.
Oh no, he said it. Is this even possible? Yes, it is. Many successful people schedule themselves a daily “home room” space to catch up on things. You should too. Tumblr founder David Karp will “try hard” not to check his email until 9:30 or 10 a.m., according to an Inc. profile. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive,” Karp says. “If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.” If you need to make sure the most important messages come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives. Otherwise, it’s a gradual but rewarding process to train "interruptors" and coworkers not to expect instantaneous morning responses to anything they send in your off-hours. Note: Use your judgment. Do what is standard for your client or company.

2. Gain awareness, be grateful.
Give thanks for your day and the new possibilities that await you. You can also include exercise or anything motivational to help spur good thoughts and feelings of gratitude. Spend at least 10 minutes envisioning everything for which you are grateful.

3. Do the heavy tasks first.
These tasks may appear daunting, but once you get started, everything else seems simple in comparison. Get the heavy stuff behind you and cruise to the easier tasks during the rest of your day. Do whatever research or front-end work is needed so completing the task will be a snap.

4. Ask yourself if you’re doing what you want to do.
Feeling unfulfilled at work shouldn’t be something you realize months or years too late. Consider what the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a Stanford graduating class: “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

5. Develop your equivalent of “customer service.”
For you, it could be keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact, asking questions of mentors, or handling the human side of work that can quickly get lost between tasks. As you maintain regular engagement with people, you’ll likely have a more reliable roster of helpers when the time comes.

In addition to Purdy’s tips, I have found success by creating my day’s agenda the previous night. I am able to enter my day knowing what needs to be accomplished and the time required to do so. This also relieves the stress of forgetting something. I’ve done this for more than six years and it is now routine. Also, in that first hour of the day, I’ve come to realize I own that time. I must nurture and protect this space because most everyone else will own the following hours of my day.

What are your successful “day starter” tips you want to share with us and others? Please share! We would love to know and grow.

Nicole Hayes
Communications Associate

Nicole Hayes brings a strong background in consumer outreach, partnership development and media relations to McKinney & Associates. Many of her communications strategies were cultivated during her work with international public relations agency Fleishman Hillard Inc., where she developed and implemented strategies and media relations outreach for large consumer and government clients.