- They get into the office early.
- Why push it? Leave at least fifteen minutes early every day to get to work. This will help reduce the stress of trying to make it in on time and give you some time to collect your thoughts and develop a game plan to address the day. This isn't about showing off to the boss or setting a good example if you are the boss. This is entirely about getting an extra fifteen minutes into your day without the general distractions around the office.
- They prioritize ruthlessly.
- Every morning they go through what they accomplished yesterday and what didn't get accomplished. They take a look at all of the things that need to be done and prioritize them from top to bottom and work on them in that order. They are constantly working on the most important things that need to get done to drive the company forward, keep customers delighted, improve efficiency, etc. If you have three priorities for the day, you have a productive schedule; if you have twenty things on your list, you have a train wreck on the horizon.
- They leave their email alone.
- This one is a hard one for me as I am often sucked into the vortex of emails, so I have to actively think about it. I do check my email to make sure that there isn't anything urgent from one of my clients, a new message from my boss or a notification from the lottery commission that I have won the jackpot. If there is nothing urgent, I go about my day and answer emails during my scheduled times. Don't worry, it gets easier every day!
- They visualize success clearly.
- What would make today a success? What things need to be accomplished? What isn't urgent? Are there any big deadlines on the horizon that I need to start planning for today? Is everything on my to-do list still important? In asking these questions, they can quickly figure out the important things that really drive the organization forward so that they can be productive, and not just BUSY! The key is to have a very clear picture, not a vague mirage of what you want to accomplish.
- They constantly seek clarity.
- After prioritizing their to-do list, or while in the process of thinking about it, they make sure that they understand exactly what they need to accomplish. If something isn't clear, they search for the answer or make a note to check with their manager or team members for further clarification of objectives. They also wonder about any areas where they might need input from the team, or if their task contains a dependency on another person or department. If they need assistance from others in order to complete their tasks, they contact them early in the morning (phone is typically the best) to make sure that all of the other links in the chain are on the same page.
Of course, this isn't a complete list of everything that successful people do, but hopefully you will find a few nuggets of information that will help you start your day more productively. Of course, a nice big cup of freshly brewed coffee couldn't hurt. Now, if you will excuse me it is time for me to take a sip of my coffee and clearly visualize a successful day!
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