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How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Work Day

  • Publish Date: Posted about 4 years ago
  • Author: Taylor Varco

Whether it’s the morning rush to get to work, or walking to your designated at-home office and jumping into “work-mode”, we often are so focused on tacking the now we forget the little things that can make our daily lives easier and more productive. 

What’s the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk? For many, checking emails and voicemails is automatic, but can be among the worst ways to start your day. These types of activities take control of your focus and put your mindset into reactive mode, placing other people’s priorities at the top. 

How you begin your day is crucial to how that day, the next day, and even the rest of the week goes. It doesn’t mean you have to wake up earlier or work longer hours, you just need to spend a few focused minutes to run a brief planning exorcise with yourself. This can help you distinguish tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important. 

The First 10 Minutes: A Break Down 

Planning Session 

For maximum productivity and organization, start each day with a personal planning session. Take a few moments to make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish that day, rather than immediately reacting to problems. 

Make Your List Actionable 

Start each item on your list with a verb, making your intentions concrete and actionable. This will also help you break up more complex problems into smaller tasks. For example, instead of writing down “Friday Presentation” break that down into a few action tasks such as: collect sales data, draft PowerPoint outline, add images to deck. 

The more specific you are, the higher rate of success. 

Make Big Decisions First 

If you can, make all big decisions at the beginning of the day. Larger decisions/issues tend to have a bigger impact on other people or your business. Take advantage of the morning quiet time, and don’t let one daily crisis dictate the way you are making those types of decisions. Get them out of the way first thing in the morning. 

Tackle 1 Large Challenging Task Per Day 

If you’re at management level, chances are your to-do list includes tasks from multiple projects at varying levels of mental energy. When you feel overwhelmed, with multiple challenging tasks, it can be easy to feel like there is no time and simply push them off to the next day. During your morning planning sessions, space out your larger, more challenging, tasks throughout the week so you only need to complete 1 per day. 

Start your day with a 10-minute planning session. By following some of the advice outlined in this article—you’ll be left at the end of your planning session with a complete plan of attack for the day/week/month.