How do successful people spend the first hour of their day?

I don't think I am the most efficient person with my time. I have been trying a few different things to better manage my time and segment my day to have work time and personal time. However, I haven't found a great system yet. I am particularly curious how others kick their day off. I tend to think that starting off right can help set you up for a successful day and would like to hear what has worked for others.

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10

Kate,

My morning starts with refection time. Quiet time with no distractions works well for me. I think of; What went well with the prior day what could I have done differently for a better outcome. Did I influence or help someone making them a better person? Am I a better person than before? Then plan your day focusing on these things.

Not everyone's magical time is in the morning. Some are mid day some prior to going to bed. Mine is waking up. My day is planned before my feet hit the floor. Find your peak time by testing each.

Finally to start off right, you need to get a good nights sleep. If I have stuff overloading my mind at night and cant sleep, I get up, write down what is on my mind then sleep like a baby.

Best of success, Gil

8

...I've been self-employed for 36+ years. I learned from another self-employed person (at the very beginning of my career) how to figure out what times of day and days of the week I'm best suited for the various tasks that need dealing with on a regular basis: financial matters, marketing matters, production matters, client matters and personal matters.

This has been the key to my success. One of my daily rituals is getting up before anyone else in my house, make coffee, go outside and take in the vibe I've cultivated in my garden. Next, I head to my office (on my property) check email, answers questions like this, read the paper online and then back inside to make breakfast for the household.

This daily ritual gets me into the helpful and deferential mode which is what my business is built on.

6

Many successful people start out their day with some writing down and reciting their goals to themselves. It helps them program their subconscious to look for opportunities in every situation good or bad that occur during the day. Most exercise, even if lightly and briefly, because it is an easy way to accomplish something positive first thing in the morning and creates an immediate sense of being productive and that energy is then easier to carry through the day. And finally most spend about at least a half-hour reading a business or personal development related book looking to pull a gold nugget or two that will help them achieve their goals. All this before checking one email. Consider it sharpening your axe before you start starting to chop down that tree of tasks set before you each day.

Great advice. Most people (the less successful) focus on "to do's", when who they are being (subconsciously and energetically is what attracts their experiences. So conditioning one's subconscious mind and asking for help from all sources (spiritual assistance) will make a person far more efficient, effective and inspiring than someone who just focuses on their To Do list.

6

I was responsible for a $2B company through out the US. I started the day with the top three things I wanted to accomplish that day. I knew there were going to be interruptions and others imposing their priorities on me. If I could accomplish the top three, I was a successful day. The items that were not accomplished became the top of the next day list. Anything that was not on the list, I made sure they had an order of priority for up coming days.

6

That mostly depends on how you spend the last hour of your day. If you plan and prioritize at the end of the day for the next day then it is about executing. Successful people are often early morning people so if contacting others is part of your day's behavior/activity plan then doing it early is successful. The important thing is that the first hour is not spent looking at emails, messages, industry news is not the trait I suggest in my time management training. Assuming your "to do" is based on priority connected to your business/life goals then you want to get to the important stuff right away and leave "busy work" for a different time...Aside for a ritual like, say, a daily affirmation, which I suggest you do before work then hit you day with accomplishment and you'll be amazed how good you feel at the end of the day.

Very good stuff. I agree with all except for the part about "Successful people are often early morning people." That probably applies to the corporate and athletic worlds but not to the creative one. Many if not most comedians, entertainers, artists and comic-book creators are night people. If you're working until 2, 3 or 4 am, you're probably not going to wake up refreshed at 7 each morning. Most studies of efficiency ignore the creative folks. But they can be just as successful.

6

I love this question! I do believe you need to set a positive intention for your day by implementing a productive morning routine. My day begins with reading a morning devotional, writing in my gratitude journal, sipping green tea and working out for 30-45 minutes. This does not always occur easily! As a mother of 4 (my youngest is 2), I have to get up early to make this possible - but I find it necessary for my mental well being and productivity. I hope you find what works for you, Kate!

5

Kate,

Good morning. I actually just wrote a blog post about this. It's a bit long but hopefully you are able to get a couple of good pointers!

“How can I free up my time to run the business? – Time Saving Tips.

A seeming shortage of time seems to be one of the biggest issues business owners have. There just does not seem like there are enough hours in the day to accomplish everything and when you combine this with trying to balance a healthy personal life, it can get truly overwhelming. I have gone thru multiple periods in my career where my plate would get so full that I was forced to figure things out and would like to share some of these nuggets with all of you. And some of these might seem like you are spending time vs. freeing it up, but the results at the end of the day/month/year have proven otherwise.

Email:

Thought I’d start with one of the biggest time suckers in the world first, checking email. This was my toughest nut to crack not only for myself, but getting my team to buy in was a whole other challenge because we get conditioned, much like Pavlovs’ dog, to run to our inbox whenever we hear that dreadful ‘ding’. And for some reason, we all feel like it is necessary to reply as quickly as possible but I think this is more about feeling like you accomplished something more than anything. So my golden tip to you is to only check email 2 times a day (mid-morning and at the end of every day). Unless you are in customer service, there is just not a need to do so (for Salespeople I do suggest checking email 3 times a day). You will find that when grouping this task and returning emails in bulk, you will free up probably over an hour a day. Another tip is to sort by “from” so you can see all the emails from the same person and just reply to the last one and/or you can quickly delete spammy emails that are from the same source. And for goodness sakes, turn off that dreadful ‘ding’ indicator for new emails as this only facilitates the development of A.D.D. and will kill your concentration and productivity.


Creative Tasks:

Do your creative tasks right when you get to work. Your brain is functioning at it’s highest level at this time so don’t waste that. And if it’s as simple as setting aside 30 minutes each morning to catch up on educational readings or doing some writing for blog posts, then do that. This will eliminate anxiety of having all of these tasks building up on you that continuously promise yourself (and then break) you will take care of at the end of the day.

Important Tasks:

After your 30 minutes or so of creative work, take care of your must-do tasks next. Anything that must get done that day, I say take care of it now. I understand that some of these things might have to get done later in the day and that is fine, but the items you know you need to do and can knock them out, go ahead and accomplish those now. After this, go ahead and knock out the first part of your 2-part daily email checking all at once and then get going with your day to day stuff. This way, at the end of every day, you will have checked off some good things every day and this again, will reduce anxiety which will lead to more productive work.


Needle-moving tasks :

Start to focus on tasks and work that move the needle and try to start to let go of some of your busy work. It is really easy (and common) to slip into a comfortable place of doing a bunch of things you know how to do and are easy, yet time consuming. I will say this was a big one for me. I always tried to trick and convince myself I got a lot of stuff done because I worked 12 hours, but if I could have cut that time down in half and accomplished more if I was doing more of the right and powerful tasks. Trust me on this one.

Delegate:

For all those busy work tasks I just mentioned that you just can’t let go of, delegate those. It will be okay. Just make sure you give good instructions on what you need done and macro-manage them by asking to see weekly or monthly results, but this will prove to free up a TON of time for you. And I am not just talking about work, if you need to run your business then see about having someone help out with household tasks such as laundry or picking up your dogs or lawn work etc… Your (or my ?) brother-in-law might give you a hard time but you can just have them concentrate on their lives as you concentrate on yours.

Morning Routine of Exercise & Meditation:

Here is the part where you say “I thought you were looking to save my time, not spend it” and I hear you, I truly do. But from personal experience and from super successful people like Tony Robbins & Steve Jobs, the morning routine is paramount to their success. It sets the stage for your entire day and will allow you to have vigor and a clear mind when you get to work. You want to do your best to put yourself in a position to react to people and challenges in the best way possible, and this will allow you to do this. And I am not talking about driving to the gym and back or running 10 miles, it could be as simple as 15 minutes of simple exercises and stretching combined with 15 minutes of meditation. This has not only been a game changer for me, it’s been a life safer.

Work at Home 1/week:

This has been a new development for me recently and me and my team love it. The key is to group a lot of computer (or “headphones on”) type of work or tasks all one day of the week where you don’t have any distractions or meetings and just knock it all out. I will powerfully suggest to have this not be a Friday because then end of the week feeling is just too much for any human to avoid and I don’t feel like this will produce the same results I have seen. But if done correctly, this can be a killer productivity hack. And one other thing to consider is to not offer this as a “reward” for your employees as they might view this a day off when in reality, they should actually be able to accomplish more. So if you feel a bit nervous or unsure about letting your employees do this, try it out and ask them to turn in what they accomplished that day.

Outsourcing:

There are some things you just can not outsource, but there are others that you can that will be some of the best decisions you will ever make. A no-brainer for me has been Payroll. Not having to worry about this tedious task was one of the best and affordable items I took off my plate. Same goes for accounting, if this is not your thing and you hate doing it, then find someone who loves doing it and you can spend your time on money making activities. Another big one is busy work or data entry type of stuff. Don’t pat yourself on the back when you get thru 3 hours of $4-5/hour work (these are the costs in places like India) when you should be slapping your forehead instead. You did nothing to help your company. And another big one, and I know I could be perceived as biased, but outsourcing your marketing/social media/graphic design might not only be one of the biggest time saving decisions you will ever make, but it could be the most lucrative as well. Companies like ours exist because we accomplish marketing and branding faster and more effective than any one person or company can so they can concentrate on the core duties of managing and growing their business. So take this however you would like, but it would behoove you to consider this whenever the time is right.

Well I hope I suggested something that will make your life just a little bit better and allow you to free up some of your time to spend on your business or your personal life. And if you have any tips for me, please pass them along as I am always looking to better mine as well.

5

Hi Kate! The best thing to do is to plan your day a day before! The to do list on your desk including important calls to make and responding to emails....when you plan your day on the day, you often miss the important things that you would have attended to on time. When the day comes and you have managed to do things on your to do list, tick all those...that will help you to see that you manage time properly. Your diary must always be opened, also have a day in a week where you will have a meeting with someone that inspires you or motivate you, it can be a book or a networking event! Those people will also help you on your growth and ask them too on how they manage their times...

5

I find that my day's productivity is affected enormously by the first thing I do - so I actively try & make a great start to my day, & generally decide the night before what that will be. Being a morning person, some things that work for me include...making time for a healthy kick start breakfast (green juice or fruit), a walk on the beach, writing an important proposal, any piece of work that needs me to be at my best, making a start on those 'important but not urgent' jobs that never seem to reach the top of my in tray. More 'brainless' jobs like answering emails, sorting stuff etc for me are best done in my low energy time after lunch.
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4

You need to spend the first hour planning your day and revising your To Do list eliminating what you got done yesterday and prioritizing the most important things you need to get done today. Most people do waste most of their time - their most valuable resource. The 80/20 rules apply unless you do something about it. Your goal should be to be worth more at the end of each day, if only by a nickel, than at the beginning. If you are not, then you are worth less !

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