What state of mind are you usually in when you arrive at the office? Irritated because you were in traffic for an hour? Rushed and anxious because you’re late and you need to get your day started? Starving because you haven’t eaten yet, but you have meetings, calls, and client communication to do so you don’t even know when you’ll have time to eat? Sound familiar?
Obviously, the above scenarios all set a horrible tone for your day. There’s got to be a better way, right?
Well, here are five better ways.
1. Do some preparation the day before.
Try this: before you leave the office on any given day, write down your list of To-Do’s for the next day. You don’t have to prioritize any of them, and the list of To-Do’s doesn’t have to be complete (you’ll more than likely add more to it the next day).
By writing down your To-Do’s for the next day, you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be doing tomorrow – and you won’t be scrambling as much to get your day’s priorities organized.
2. Wake up earlier.
Start waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you do right now. You won’t feel as rushed when you’re getting ready in the morning, and you’ll be able to invest time in yourself (which I’ll discuss a little later). I have a feeling that you’ll be much more calm and prepared if you just give yourself some time for YOU in the mornings.
It’ll also help you with the next strategy.
3. Don’t drive to the office during morning rush hour.
This suggestion is definitely not rocket science, but I think it needs to be said. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely irritated with traffic—so I just try not to drive during times when there is traffic. If you work in a major city and drive to work, there will probably traffic between 8 and 9 AM. So don’t drive to work in that time frame. Brilliant, I know.
Drive to work at 7:30 AM. Or, if your job permits, drive to work at 9:30.
4. Don’t check your email first in the morning.
You want to follow this rule because you want to be proactive about your day. Once you check your e-mail, you become reactive to other people’s demands. You need to organize your own priorities first before you get to other people’s priorities.
5. Invest 30 minutes – 1 hour in yourself in the mornings.
What are going to do when you wake up 30 minutes-1 hour earlier while also not checking your email first thing in the morning? You’re going to put this time to good use, which will help you set the right tone for the day.
Spend this time developing yourself spiritually or mentally. Read a book that can help you progress in your career. Work out. Eat a healthy breakfast. Review your goals. Listen to a personal development podcast. It’s up to you. They’re your priorities, and by having some extra time in the morning, you can do the things that are important to you instead of catering to other people.
Justin Hong is the Managing Partner at Highly Relevant and is an avid fan/consumer/participant of books (business, leadership, personal development), the Dallas Mavericks, food (all kinds… literally), and ridiculous discussions that are probably not appropriate for this blog.