The 18 Best Things You Can Do for a Stress-Free, Productive Start to Your Workday
Why you should sip green tea and only check emails for 15 minutes.
Shift your hours back
Arriving at the office before your coworkers will give you a chance to focus before you’re flooded with emails and phone calls. If your boss is OK with it, start your day an hour early (and leave an hour earlier too). Here are effortless ways to become a morning person.
Take just 15 minutes to get settled
You probably need to settle in before buckling down at work, but you’re at your freshest in the morning, so try to get to the harder stuff quickly. Limit yourself to 15 minutes reading emails, getting coffee, and catching up on the news. Here are tips to be more productive in your first hour of work.
Write two to-do lists
Write down one ongoing to-do list with all your upcoming tasks, broken into short-, medium-, and long-term projects. Use this one for reference and planning, and adjust it throughout the day. Keep another list of everything you think you can realistically finish today. Record how long each task should reasonably take, keeping in mind interruptions like phone calls, meetings, and emails. If you break your work down into reasonable chunks, you’ll be more likely to actually get through all your daily goals.
Plan the end of your day
At the start of your day, block off half an hour before you plan to leave the office. Use that time to finish answering emails, clean off your desk, and update your to-do list, and plan the rest of your day accordingly. Here’s what successful people do after work.
Make a list of obstacles
iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Emotional challenges like tough phone calls, monotonous work, and long meetings are inevitable, so mentally prepare before they happen by thinking about them in advance. Accepting the frustrations ahead will make it easier to get through them with patience. When obstacles do arise, here are productive alternatives to complaining.
Pencil in time to socialize
Not only does chatting with coworkers make your job more enjoyable, but teams who know each other on an emotional level tend to be more productive. After you’ve pumped out some constructive work, take a few moments to catch up with your colleagues. Walk over to their desks instead of picking up the phone—calls tend to last longer than expected. But … don’t miss these tips to stop procrastinating.
Bring your charger
Make sure your phone is charged at all times so that you’re prepared in case you need to run out of the office in an emergency. Plus, your coworkers will appreciate that they don’t need to sacrifice their own when you hit that stressful 20 percent mark.
Take 10 or 20 seconds to close your eyes and picture how you’d like your day to play out. Let yourself feel the relief of finishing a big project, or the happiness of positive feedback from a customer. You’ll be better primed to make that imaginary experience a reality.
Do some creative research
Pick a random word like “quark” or “aquamarine” and spend five minutes searching the Web for information on it. The creative exercise will clear out cobwebs, prep you to take in new information, and teach you a bit about an interesting topic. Or try one of these weird brain exercises that make you smarter.