Do you walk into work and immediately open your computer to check and start responding to your emails?
Or do you head right to the coffee and start your day walking the halls and greeting people?
OR do you start your day getting ready for success?
If you answered anything other than the 3rd option then it is time to reevaluate how you are starting your work days.
How you start your work day is vital for having a successful day. Those first 10-15 minutes of your day can help you avoid missing a deadline or a conference call.
Using the start of your day correctly can help you also have a calmer and more organized day which leads to increased productivity. Building these 3 steps into your daily routine will help you and your work performance improve!
I started really forming these 3 steps about 2 years ago and have personally seen huge impact on my daily efficiency and productivity as a result.
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Now that you know WHY it’s so important to start your day correctly, you have to learn what it takes to start your work day correctly.
There are 3 very important things to start your day:
Step 1: Collect
Collect means collecting what you need to do and what your day looks like.
Collect any information off of weekly or monthly calendars. Collect information from the day before. Check for deadlines or due dates.
An example of information you would collect is:
-Any projects due today
-Any meetings or conference calls today
-Any webinars or training taking place today
-Any daily tasks or reports due
Just make sure that you have all the information you will need to organize and prioritize your day. Each day that you practice these steps they will all become easier, especially this step of collecting the information.
You will get into the habit of checking the right things and making notes for the next day. Remember- making positive actions into habits is vital for productive work days!
Step 2: Prioritize
Prioritizing makes or breaks your work days.
You don’t want to get stuck on unimportant tasks or miss deadlines because you weren’t prioritizing.
I like to prioritize my work tasks into three buckets.
Bucket 1- Absolutely must do. Things that you can’t leave today without doing.
Bucket 2- Should really do. Things that are informally due today or by not doing I will hinder others.
Bucket 3- Should do. Things that would be great if you accomplish today but if you don’t it will be okay to do them tomorrow.
Really – if anything falls into lower priority than bucket 3 it should be evaluated as to why you are doing it and if it could be delegated to someone else. Guides on saying no and delegating are right below… and seriously it’s so important to look into what you are doing every day if you find that you have a lot of items that are not falling into any of the 3 major buckets.
I also have a whole series on prioritizing:
It is also important to re-evaluate your day and your work day structure if you find that everything is falling into bucket 1. If you have a huge list of things that absolutely need to be accomplished every single day then maybe there is something you can do to improve your efficiency, automate tasks, or start delegating some tasks.
Step 3: Game plan
Now that you have efficiently collected what you need to do today and then wrote out a prioritized list… now you need to make a game plan (or action plan) for how you are actually going to accomplish everything.
The most efficient way to do this is to plan out the hours in your work day based on your prioritized list.
The difference between a prioritized list and the game plan is that you need to actually write the actions and tasks necessary to accomplish the items on your prioritized to-do list.
For example: if a task on your list is to finish a ROI report for your boss. Then at 9am-9:30am time slot you may block out the time to actually run the numbers that go into the report and then from 9:30am-9:45am inputting those numbers into the report and emailing it to your boss.
You will know better than anyone else what shorthand and notes work for you! I only use maybe 1/5 real sentences on my daily planner. Use lots of abbreviations and shorthand which will help keep this step of making a game plan less than 5 minutes once you get used to doing it every day.
I recommend for your game plan using a daily planner. Digital calendars work too but I find that seeing everything on paper is the most productive way to accomplish things for me.
My favorite daily planner is the Brownline Planner. I like that it has the daily hourly breakdown but in a weekly view so you can see your whole week at once. It is also lighter than a planner that has each day as its own page.
Starting your day off correctly is one of the most important parts of ensuring you have a productive and efficient work day.
Let me know in the comments if you try out these 3 steps to start your work day and how it goes for you!