Your first 30 minutes of the day at work matters. How you spend the first 30 minutes as you settle down at your workstation for the business of the day makes or mars the rest of your day.
A day without plan
When you start out your day without a plan, you lose control of your day.
Without a plan, your day begins to run autopilot. You lose the initiative. Catching up becomes stressful. A day in the life of a manager without a plan is like going on a journey without a reliable map.
When you do not plan your day, a lot of things go out of sync. You waste time, and are not able to manage your workflow. You may end up accomplishing nothing meaningful.
Planning Your Day
You can save yourself the agony of wasted day, if you learn to wisely spend the first 30 minutes of your day in the office, you will gain mastery of self management and become effective at work.
Planning your day involves a thoughtful and careful consideration of how you want your day to happen.
Establish an early-hour productive habit
You should establish a routine. It enables you to build a habit that sharpens your personal effectiveness. Habits are formed through a daily pattern of predictable activities. If you lay out a productivity-enhancing routine, you will develop a habit that brings out the best in you. Your life will evolve into a pattern of personal effectiveness.
Start your day with meditation
You should start your day with meditation. You are at liberty to express yourself in the best way that promotes your competencies and productivity. Your boss is interested in how you do your job, and the results you produce.
Spend the first few minutes of your first 30 minutes in solitude and quietness to reflect, think and pray. Psychologists and experts agree that prayer is therapeutic. Meditation configures a right mindset in you and energizes you for the day.
Meditation is not loud and noisy prayer session that disturbs the peace and quietness of other office workers. It is inner reflection, deep thoughtfulness and quietness on the Sovereign God, nature, the environment and your life.
It purifies you from evils. It is drawing strengths to overcome temptations and trials of life that want to lure you to wrongdoing. It is how your life fits into these realities. It is how you contribute to making our earth better.
Meditation also enables you to think ahead and give a shape to what your day will look like. You are able to take control and determine your day. You will be able to allocate time to the activities of the day. Of course, nothing is cast in stone but you have an idea of the appropriate time you allocate to each duty.
Work with Calendar Planner
You should review your calendar. Your day is a single unit of your week, month and year. You should think big: your month matters. If you think of your work only in terms of day, you will run out of ideas to manage your week or month. Hence, you should take a look at your calendar to see if you are on course for the month.
Next is to review your dairy for the day. Do you have any meeting to attend? Or, reschedule? Do you have a presentation to make? Do you have a report to write? Do you have to see your boss? Does your staff need to see you? Do you have a research to conduct? Do you have files to treat? Are you taking a lunch break with your wife, who works across the street?
A workstation that is not clustered
You should make sure that your workstation is not clustered with paper work. An untidy work environment disorientates your productivity psyche. You will not have an incentive to work if your table is decorated with piles of untreated files, and loose sheets of paper or a nonfunctional computer that requires repair.
You should make your workstation inviting, and creativity friendly. Take a minute to look around you. Clean up your workstation. Decorate your office with friendly flowers and pictures that inspire creativity and productivity. Do this daily and regularly.
You should not allow non-essentials to creep into your first 30 minutes window of plan. These non-essentials may be legitimate but postpone them to more suitable time of the day.
One of such is tea/coffee. Breakfast is good but you should keep it out of the window of your first 30 minutes in the office. It is a subtle time waster. Do not load yourself with calories from a heavy breakfast that will make you sluggish and slothful throughout the day.
You should keep your hands off your newspapers. You should resist the temptation to want to skim through the dailies. Also, you should not use the window to check or read emails. It will waste your time and drag you into a web of unplanned day.
You should avoid telephone calls or peer chat. This activity can slow you down. You should keep away from social media. You should refrain from immediately checking your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts within the first 30 minutes window.
Be pragmatic and flexible
Remember that these chains of actions are not supposed to be followed dogmatically.
They are practical guides to enable you have a fun-filled and productive day. You should not be rigid. You should not turn them to daily rituals that you must observe religiously to the detriments of other obligations when common sense and exigencies.
You should be open-minded, and sensitive to your environment to embrace changes in the day, week or month. You must be willing to learn.
You should form the habit of doing first things first. That is the key to self management and productivity.
Author: Babatunde Fajimi
This article was first published by The Union Newspaper under CEO Mentorship on Sunday, February 22, 2015