When I look at time logs, I see that many of us have work-starting rituals. We get to our computers and do something: check email, check certain blogs or websites. We may start figuring out what to work on of the day’s priorities, but at some point, meeting or phone call #1 starts, and then the time after that gets chopped up.
We probably need some kind of ritual to signal that it’s time to work, but spending too much time on these rituals, especially if they result in lots of new things that must be dealt with, may be a missed opportunity. The first hour of the work day is a chance to knock stuff out of the park. One study of people’s energy levels through the day found they tended to peak around 8 a.m. — right when people showed up at work. With that cup of coffee in hand, you are ready to conquer the world. As a blogger I’m thrilled if people use that window to read my blog, but from an objective perspective, it’s probably not anyone’s top priority.
That time might be better spent on something else.
I’ve been experimenting with this lately. Technically, 8-9 a.m. would be the first hour of my workday most days, but with the kids’ new school schedules, we’re still working on getting everyone out the door on time, so it’s hard to focus during that slot. Two days a week my first hour will be 9:15-10:15, but so far doing the school run solo makes me feel like I wish to stop at a coffee shop for a donut, not buckle down to work.
So it looks like I might be back to waking up early. One reason the morning routine is slightly taxing is that the kids aren’t waking up early on their own. It’s rushed. But that means that I could likely bank on getting 6:20-7:20 a.m. to myself if I wanted it. Then I’d need to figure out each day what I’d aim to get done during that time, and be ready to go when my alarm went off.
Of course, that’s also a great time to exercise, which is what I did this morning. Too bad the time before breakfast isn’t infinite. What do you do during the first hour of your workday? Have you ever tweaked it to make it more productive?