Stack begins by pointing out the results of new research into sleep habits that emphasizes the value of early-morning productivity. According to a recent study in the journal “Emotion,”
“This is probably because society at large caters to day-workers much better than it does to the nocturnal,” Stack says. “Cheerful people tend to be more productive than unhappy ones, and the same goes for those who come into work the earliest.
“You can get a lot done when you face fewer external distractions.”
Stack made a list of 10 items she accomplished before 10:00 a.m. one typical day and shares the list in her blog. Number one on the list was actually accomplished the night before - creating a “High Impact Tasks (or HIT) list to itemize her priorities for the following day. Having this list allowed her to jump right in upon rising the next morning. Although the list may seem highly personal, it’s one that applies to a productive life.
1. (Make a to-do list the night before.)
2. Get eight hours of sleep to maximize personal productivity.
3. Jump right out of bed. Don’t hit the snooze button.
4. Exercise helps a person wake up and maintain a healthy level of energy all day.
5. Eat breakfast for energy that lasts until lunchtime.
6. Complete your morning rituals, which for Stack includes showering, prayer, and coffee over news.
7. Arrive at work on time to maximize productivity. No heel-dragging when it’s time to face professional responsibilities.
8. Check in with staff on the day’s priorities to update the day’s task list, adjust schedules, and determine which task to take on first.
9. Complete the most important task or tasks by narrowing your focus, eliminating distractions, and getting to work.
10. Clear email. For Stack and many others, email represents a primary means of communicating with clients, colleagues, and staff. It also represents a huge time sink unless email rules are established.
“If you let it, email can devour the most productive parts of your day,” Stack says. “So I eliminate this distraction quickly and turn to more important matters, and I don’t check it constantly throughout the day.”
Stack advises her readers to create their own list of “Top Ten Before 10” accomplishments to see what theirs would look like. The exercise, she says, can help fine tune the way people utilize their time during the day, especially after repeating the exercise a few times.
“See if you actually get more done in the morning,” Stack says. “Once you change your routine, it may help you pump up the volume on your workplace productivity.”
For more information on improving your day’s productivity, visit TheProductivityPro.com website, Email Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call 303-471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS, Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books: “What to do When There’s Too Much to do” (2012); “SuperCompetent”