What do you do before 9 a.m. to guarantee a good workday?

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Question: “I read recently that your day has either been made or broken by the time you’ve been at your desk for only a half hour, and your routine from the moment you wake up should be carefully engineered toward maximizing your calm and contentment so that the workday begins well. In this case, I’m a disaster, with my mornings at home being chaotic and everything rushing at me very early in the office. Does anyone have a recipe for a morning routine that really sets a good tone for the next eight hours?” – Kat, District Secretary

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ce April 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm

My day has to begin with prayer. My husband and I have two boys, and when they were younger, we always began the day with family prayer. When we moved to another house, the habit unintentially disappeared, but we’re determined to get back into it because all four of us recognized the change that took place: our days went from joyful (even during challenging times including illnesses and two unexpected deaths in the family) to what I describe as “levitating,” – that is without a solid foothold on life, chaos. After a while, we recognized the main thing that had changed in our lives. Now that the boys are 16 and 15, it is actually they who have pointed out the need to for morning family prayer.

As others have described, I agree that planning, organizing, and preparing both at home and at work are critical. But I also firmly believe that if we intentionally begin the day with love and peace in our hearts, with determination in our minds to accomplish what we have been created to do, and with a conscious reminder that God and those who love us remain WITH us throughout our day, everything else just seems to fall into place so much easier.

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DeeCee April 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Preparing the evening before helps. If I have a project in progress, I will leave myself notes about the status of it so I don’t have to backtrack or waste time trying to figure out where I am on it or what needs to be done next. Reminder notes help a lot.

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Sherri April 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Preparing for the next day helps. I also try to arrive 10 minutes early. This allows me time to “settle in” and be prepared.

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Lisa April 12, 2013 at 8:33 am

Before I leave the office, I review my calendar for appointments for the following day and I prepare for them. So when tomorrow rolls around, I am ready for any early appointments. First thing in the morning, I review my calendar again and also check my email as this might affect my planned day. Then I look through my “work pile” and prioritize it. I start my day with a plan. Of course, the day may not go as planned but at least I have the plan in my head!

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Jackqueline April 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

The best way I find to start my day well, is as Kelly said start the afternoon & night before.

I need to be organised, and that includes in the afternoon checking my Teams calendar for the next day and leave a-to-do list for myself for the next day.

After the evening meal organising items for the next day, wake early head to the gym for “me time” and watch the morning programs, then head to work ready to face the world, when I don’t follow my routine my world goes to hell in a hand basket very quickly.

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Mark April 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

My best way to ensure a smooth day is to plan it the day before. The last thing I do before shutting down the PC is to use Outlook to plan out the next day. Nothing is put in tasks, only calendar. Things that I previously would have put in tasks are assigned a specific time in the calendar. I also allow for interruptions, knowing that the day never goes exactly as planned. Also, I use time management for e-mails. I check e-mail only three or maybe four times a day, so I can respond in batches rather than respond one-at-a-time.

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Rita April 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I agree with Kelly. I also learned, years ago, that I’m a person who needs to wake up quiet and calm. If the kids have to be up by a particular time to get their day started, I add an hour of “me time” and set my alarm earlier. I get up, have a cup of tea, read the newspaper (or just sit on the deck and watch the world wake up) and ease my way into the day. Then, when it’s time, I have the energy to hit the floor running.

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Natalie Layfield April 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I agree that to start your day off on the best path, you begin the day before. For work, I use a folder with the project or task I need to work on next on top, so that will be the first thing I see.Other work is placed under that document, the order it needs to be accomplished (some call this a “pending” folder or file). I often use the left side of the folder for items I am waiting to receive a response on. I also believe when you arrive at work, take a short interval to check your calendar and E-mails, but don’t spend more than 10 minutes if possible. To set the mood, it can help also to walk around and greet your co-workers. For home, I am in the habit of checking the weather and planning ahead for what to wear- that prevents that time wasted staring at your closet with indecision.Another action I take is to print my monthly work calendar in Outlook and keep this copy at home. This can help you to mentally prepare for your day on the drive to work. One last tip- if you have a quick task you can complete when you start work, that will help give you that feeling of accomplishing something, so should be a mood enhancer! Hope you find ways to alleviate those stressful mornings!

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Tracie Giron April 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Kelly’s response is exactly how I do things. I couldn’t have typed it better than she. Staying on top of your game is key to success!!

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Lisa April 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

This is very easy to solve. For 15-20 minutes the night before, pick out your clothes/purse/shoes/jacket and pack your lunch if you eat in the office. It’ll save you from the morning rush. You can also start a list of things that have to be done in the morning such as showering, taking medication, feeding pets, etc. Once you complete a step, cross it off your list. If you make sure that you do everything in the same order, over time everything will become routine. Even though a routine sounds dull, it’s the best to have a routine in the morning.

As for work, get there a few minutes early to put away your things away and get your morning coffee. Start by opening your e-mails and responding to the easy ones first.

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Kelly Olsakovsky April 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Kat, I’ve found the best way to get the morning off right actually starts the night before. I have a toddler, and have found the more I can do as part of my “evening routine” the smoother our mornings tend to go. Things like making sure everyone’s clothes are out and ironed if needed, bags are packed, notes in appropriate places, that sort of thing.

You also set yourself up for a better day at work if you take fifteen minutes in the evening to straighten your desk, make a list of things to tackle the next day, and check the next day’s calendar (that also helps with getting your clothes ready!) I feel better coming in and knowing my desk won’t be a mess, and I’ve already laid out some things I can tackle to get a productive start to my day.

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