Seize Your Mornings

The switch from daylight savings to standard time always seems to mess up my “delicate” balance.  I am typically a morning person and in fact wake up and start work quite early.  When the fall time change comes and there is even more time in the morning it does take some adjustment.  Perhaps it is worth thinking about how to take full advantage of that extra hour in the morning!

The attached article may help get you thinking in this regard.  It contains so many things that we know to be true but often ignore.  Getting started earlier gives you a chance to exercise, eat a good breakfast, properly plan the day, get a difficult task out of the way and put yourself in a proper mindset for the challenges ahead.  As most things don’t really start until around 9 am you may have time to prepare for the day by catching up on valuable news and seeing what the rest of the world did while you slept.  The morning is an ideal time to read a provocative editorial, prepare for the day with the Wall Street Journal and/or New York Times and really look for the patterns that are emerging as all these things tie together.

There are tons of pieces written on happiness and productivity and one of the consistent themes is that getting up early and starting the day in a meaningful way really seems to make a difference.  Like so many things in life it might be worthwhile to take some time to really think about how to best start each day.  A golfer visualizes that first tee shot, a sprinter practices getting out of the blocks, a speechwriter knows the importance of the first few lines and we in business should recognize that a good start can set the tone for the rest of the day.  Just as important as getting an early start may be the idea of taking control of your own life and making your own decisions.  Let’s think about this briefly.

I have always thought it was weird that the absolute best and most potentially productive part of the morning is spent commuting to work. Perhaps a better idea would be to do as much as possible from home, including some of the toughest tasks such as writing plans and returning difficult phone calls.  After completing as much work as possible and letting the traffic clear a commute might be a nice break before starting the second part of your day where you will be attending lots of meetings and having face-to-face discussions.  With so much work already out of the way these meetings can be much more productive as the focus will be there rather than on the work that is not getting done.

Many of you will already be saying something like this would never work at my job.  My boss would never allow such flexibility. The world would just fall apart.  This is not our culture.  This is precisely the reason that entrepreneurs, independent workers, artists and small business people are causing such disruption for those working in more traditional jobs.  The “rules” are killing old fashion businesses while outsiders are out maneuvering around them to pry away their business.

The challenge with introducing change into the traditional environment is that you need to prove it is better.  Work must improve.  More things must get done.  Just take the example described above.  It is much easier for the worker to fight the traffic and just show up on time even if it less productive.  If they tried to stay home and work they would need to actually accomplish something but if they just show up at work and sit in their office, this is often enough.  But in today’s world just showing up is no longer nearly enough.  Seize that extra hour tomorrow morning and really plan out how you can better control your schedule and your life.

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