Are You Making These 12 Mistakes?

The first few minutes of your workday should set the tone for the next eight hours. If you show up late to the office or get caught up in an overflowing inbox, you could get thrown off and have a difficult time focusing for the rest of the day.

Writers Allana Akhtar and Shana Lebowitz did some research and discovered 12 common traps that can ensnare you within the first 10 minutes of your workday. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share their advice on avoiding these pitfalls so you can set yourself up for a successful, productive day.

1. You show up late for work. You could be sabotaging your workday before it even begins. A study cited by The Huffington Post found that bosses tend to see employees who come in later as less conscientious and give them lower performance ratings-even if those employees leave later, too. Try to get to the office as early as possible.

2. You forget to say hi to your colleagues. Akhtar and Lebowitz say taking a few minutes to catch up with those around you can set a pleasant tone for the day. Saying hello is especially important for leaders, who might appear to lack people skills if they make a silent beeline to their office.

3. You drink your coffee too early in the morning. If you down your first cup as soon as wake you up or right when you get to the office, you might consider waiting a bit. Research shows the best time to drink coffee is 10 am. Cortisol, which regulates energy, generally peaks between 8 and 9 am. When you drink coffee during this time, your body produces less cortisol and depends on caffeine. Once your cortisol levels start declining after 9:30 am, you might really need the caffeine.

4. You start your day answering emails. Responding to emails first thing might feel like you're accomplishing things, but it's better to use the first 10 minutes of your workday quickly scanning and prioritizing emails. If you don't attend to priority items, you're letting others control your schedule.

5. You forget to make a tentative schedule for your day. Before you buckle down, write down your top priorities and must-dos for the day. Look for events you may have planned and whether you need to prepare for any calls or meetings.

6. You tackle your easiest projects first. Your energy and willpower tend to decrease as the day goes on, which is why it's critical to handle the difficult tasks first.

7. You multitask. You might feel like you can do a million things at once in the morning, but multitasking can hurt your performance on the primary task. It's better to do one thing at a time.

8. You dwell on negative thoughts. Did you have a nightmarish commute or get in a fight with your teenager before you arrived at work? Don't mull over those experiences. Compartmentalize them in a separate mental "box" and revisit them later if needed.

9. You schedule early-morning meetings. Don't waste your cognitive resources on a meeting first thing in the morning. Instead, reserve your mornings for tasks that require focus and concentration.

10. You want to accomplish big goals. It's great to have ambitious plans for what you want to achieve, but science says you're more likely to procrastinate. Break up your tasks and focus on what you can accomplish in a given timeframe.

11. You don't take time to reflect. To avoid burnout and improve your mental health, try 10 minutes of quiet reflection or meditation to start your workday.

12. You're not sitting next to a window. Exposure to bright light in the morning improves depression, agitation and sleep. Open your blinds to get energized for the rest of the day.

The way you start your morning can impact your entire day. Make sure you're starting on the right foot by avoiding the mistakes above.

Source: Allana Akhtar and Shana Lebowitz are contributing writers for Business Insider.

filed under May 2019
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