They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In other words, it’s not just that you start your morning, it’s HOW you start your morning. And, as we all know, there is more than one start in the morning. One is when you get out of bed, and brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, drop any kids you might have off at school and so on. The second start to your morning is when you walk into your office and start working. How you start working, or what are the first things you look at, are just as important as eating a healthy breakfast.
I’ve found that the best way to start off my work day is by using the same sort of rituals that you do in the morning. I get a cup of coffee, plug my phone into the charger, stretch, and sit down. I then start off my day with these three tools that help me plan ahead, get things done and make sure that no tasks or commitments fall between the cracks.
Application #1: Your Email.
I use Gmail, personally, but it doesn’t really matter what email client you use. What is important that you start off by checking your email. Have any important email messages come in during the night? Are there any emails that you might have missed because they went to different folders? (the new Gmail look that added folders like ‘Social’, ‘Updates’, has its uses, but you still need to keep an eye on things, and make sure that no email goes unnoticed).
Mark off the important email, and either turn it into a task, or reply that instant, so that you can move on to the next email. When you clear your Inbox (and it’s a great feeling, isn’t it?), you’ve done with this part of the day. I ignore my email for the next few hours, by the way, so that I can continue to work without interruptions. If you are the sort who can’t resist checking your Inbox every few minutes, then Inbox Pause might just be the extension for you (only works on Gmail at the moment).
Application #2: Your Scheduler
The next item on my list is my scheduler. I use Google Calendar (hey, Google Apps have you covered with a tool for almost everything your business needs, so why not use them?) to see what I have set up for that day. I add everything into my calendar, as it makes it easier to see when I’m available, when I’m busy, and when I am doing the actual work. Remember the emails from before? When I convert them into tasks, I make sure to include those tasks in my calendar as well. That way, when people need to schedule meetings with me, they can also see that I’m not available for certain periods of time. Looking over my daily schedule makes it easy for me to make sure that I’ve covered all the tasks from any previous meetings, and get ready for the next meetings according to their agenda. And if you want a slick looking app to check your meetings when you’re on the go, take a look at Cal, a mobile app that synchs with your Google calendar but presents your schedule in a very cool way.
Application #3: Your Co Workers
The last item on my morning ritual is ‘co-workers’. I know that it isn’t an app (although I use WorkVoices to do it), but it’s still an important part of my morning. Getting in touch with the rest of the team to see if we all know what we need to get done today, talking to other teams to see if there are any holdups that I’m causing or if any tasks that they completed means I’m not held up anymore, and so on. Communicating in real-time with your co-workers is also the best way to prevent future ping-pong conversations via email or memos that are usually due to confusion or miscommunication of tasks and priorities.
Besides, who doesn’t want to say hello to everyone when they come into the office, even if ‘everyone’ is in another country? :)
Read more: Stop Getting Calls At Home On Your Day Off
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