The first few minutes of your workday are critical to your efficiency for the next eight hours.
Doing some research we rounded up nine common traps that can ensnare you within the first 10 minutes of your workday.
Read on to find out how to avoid those difficulties and set yourself up for success.
1. Getting in late
You could ruin your workday before it even starts.
Usually 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.
It’s not fair, but it’s the reality. So try to get to the office as early as possible.
2. Not greeting your coworkers
You can set a friendly tone for yourself and others around you by taking a few minutes to catch up with your colleagues.
If you’re a leader and you don’t say “hi” to your team, your appearing of lack of people skills could undercut your technical competence.
Even if you are not a manager, making a silent beeline for your desk could make you seem less likable to colleagues.
3. Drinking coffee
If you do not go for a cup right when you wake up, you probably grab it as soon as you get into the office.
But research says that the best time to drink coffee is after 9:30 a.m. That’s because the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates energy, generally peaks between 8 and 9 a.m. When you drink coffee during that time, the body begins producing less cortisol and depends more on caffeine.
Once your cortisol levels start to lower after 9:30 a.m., you might really need that caffeine boost.
4. Answering every email in your inbox
Once you settle into your work area, it’s tempting to jump directly into the slew of e-mails that arrived overnight.
But according to Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work,” the first 10 minutes of the workday should be spent quickly scanning and prioritizing emails. That way you can see if there’s anything urgent and create a plan for answering the rest later.
Checking e-mail can become one of those tasks that make it feel like you are accomplishing things. But, the danger is you are not attending to priority-action items, and you’re giving a chance to others to set your agenda.
5. Launching into your work without a tentative schedule in mind
Before you buckle down, make sure you have an idea of where the day is headed. Write down your top priorities and must-do things for the day and reviewing your calendar.
Check to see what meetings you have planned and whether you need to prepare for any calls or conferences. Otherwise, you could be caught off guard when you get a 10-minute reminder for a team meeting and you’re smack in the middle of writing a project proposal.
6. Doing the easiest tasks first
Your energy and willpower tend to flag as the day goes on. That’s why it’s essential to get the important stuff out of the tasks list as soon as possible.
Some people call this strategy “eating the frog,” based on a quote from Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Because you have so much energy in the morning, you might feel as though you can do many different things at once.
But research suggests that multitasking can hurt your performance on the primary task, and that it’s better to do one thing at a time. If you start your workday by juggling multiple tasks, you could set yourself back for the rest of the day.
Rather, set a positive tone by concentrating on a single task for the initial 10 minutes.
8. Dwelling on negative thoughts
Perhaps you nearly got knocked over by a pushy passenger on your commute. Or perhaps you had a fight with your spouse the night before.
Don’t let those experiences distract you from the tasks that need to be done today.
You should compartmentalize by putting those negative thoughts “in a separate ‘box’ as you start your week.” If necessary, you can return to them later.
9. Having a meeting
Morning meetings could be a waste of your cognitive resources.
According to Laura Vanderkam, author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” early mornings should be reserved for tasks that require extensive focus and concentration.
If you have any say in when you have meetings with your boss and coworkers, make sure they’re scheduled for low-energy times like midafternoon. Of course unless you know they require a huge amount of mental energy.