By Mark Solomons, Managing Partner, Developing Potential
So how do you start your working day? I am not talking about when you get up or what you have for breakfast or whether you say hello to everyone when you first get to work (as important as all these are in having a successful day).
When you have got your coffee and are settling down to your first bit of work on a typical day, what is it that you do first?
Are you part of the majority? The hundreds of millions of people who flick on their pc or mac, load up their e-mail and hit send/receive? You are? Then keep reading…
You might now be asking yourself “what is wrong with opening your e-mails first?” What is wrong with wanting to know…
1) Whether I have urgent messages,
2) What’s going on in the department/company/world,
3) Whether I’ve got feedback on that ‘thing’ I submitted,
4) If my boss needs something from me urgently,
5) Whether there are new customer orders or complaints that need actioning, etc…
You get the picture.
The problem is you are handing over the foundations for your day to someone else. The minute the e-mails start coming in you are responding to the agenda of others. Those important tasks you had planned are now less likely to be completed as your time is hijacked by having to do a host of new things.
And its not even your time that is being compromised – it’s your energy. How many of you will read e-mails each day that anger, frustrate or disappoint you or that make you want to get out of the place, go home or perhaps even jack it all in? Your energy levels go through the floor and you are no longer feeling engaged with the task in hand or what would have lead to having a very successful day.
So what’s the solution?
Don’t make e-mails the first thing you do each day.
Sounds easier said than done doesn’t it? Here’s how….When you start work (or even the night before) be clear about the one, two or three most important things you have to deliver that day. It may be writing a report, making some sales calls, having a challenging meeting or getting your team together.
Why wouldn’t you just get on and do the things that are most likely to guarantee your personal success and in-turn the success of your team, department or company. By doing this your focus and energy remains on what is truly important and isn’t diluted by messages from other people. You won’t be tempted to move to other activities that loom largely into view but weren’t part of what you had already planned.
Imagine if every day you have completed at least your most important task (and possibly more) before the hustle and bustle from others infects you – how will you feel and what are others likely to be saying. Your productivity will be through the roof and knowing you have already had a great day will give you much more energy to make the rest of the day feel great too.
But won’t this mean I run the risk of missing something important?
We wouldn’t recommend ignoring your emails all day – just that you spend at least the first 90 minutes of your day completing your most important tasks before opening your e-mail. Waiting this long won’t make a big difference for most of us, if anything is super-urgent then you can be reached by phone.
And when you do start your e-mails, action the important ones – the ones that will make a difference.
This is just one simple and practical way of increasing your personal energy and effectiveness at work? We guarantee if you do this your productivity, engagement and results will immediately improve.
Managing energy not time is a key trait of very successful people.
This is just one of the ways in which you can become more energised. Do you have your own tips for starting the working day? We would love to hear about them.
Changing habits can be hard and if you think you or your colleagues would benefit from personal support to improve personal energy levels, we can help – contact us now about our various ‘Energy Management’ offerings.