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First Things First

How do you start your day? Do you hop on email and then never get off? Many people do and then wonder where the day goes.

What can you do first, to jumpstart your day? To pave the path to maximized productivity?

I love to exercise in the morning. Let me clarify – I don’t love to exercise, but I love to do it in the morning because I love the results. There’s the long term health benefits, of course, but for me, there’s also the “I did it” feeling and the natural adreneline rush I get right afterwards. This fires me up for the day and I’m ready to go. I know that days that I exercise in the morning, I’m much more productive for the rest of the day. When I get into a rut and don’t get up to run or go to the gym for a number of days (or weeks – gasp!) in a row, my energy level is negatively affected. This affects my productivity.

Another way to jumpstart your day is to get the most important thing you need to do all day done first. Steven Covey calls this “First things First”, and suggests that successful people make this a habit (I agree!). That’s right, before you get on email, tackle the #1 priority for the day. Accomplish, or make significant progress on the one task that will make the biggest difference in your personal or professional life. Imagine the feeling you’ll have when you get that done and there’s still much of the day in front of you! For me, this strategy give my day amazing momentum.

I also know myself well. I know that if I leave these things (exercise and a high priority task) until later in the day, I will likely not do them at all. I may procrastinate, fill my time with lower priority tasks, or come up with excuses as to why not to exercise or tackle that important thing until later (which never comes), so getting these things done first thing in the morning helps assure that they happen, and then they are out of the way and I can move on (and celebrate!).  Author and speaker Brian Tracy calls this strategy “Eat a Frog for Breakfast” and even wrote a book on the concept. His idea is that if you had to eat a big, ugly frog on any given day, wouldn’t rather eat it in the morning for breakfast and get it out of the way than having it stare at you all day? I think, yes.

How do you like to start your day? What fires you up? What do you do that propels you or gives you energy or momentum to take on the rest of the day? I’d love to hear from you.

Bring on the day!

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