I am not really a morning person. In my opinion, mornings should begin with a slow wake up, tea, reading and writing Morning Pages – all while still in bed. Leaping from my pit as soon as I am awake has never been my favourite activity.
But recently I came across this post 11 Ways Successful People Start Their Mornings. It talks about ‘markets’ being open and is probably meant for people who dabble on the stock market and so on, but she who will read the label on the sauce bottle or anything else in front of her, read the whole column and it did make me think.
The first sentences:
The day may have 24 hours of equivalent length but every hour is not created equal. Beginning the day with a purpose and a plan increases your chances of success.
Every hour is not created equal. The morning ones fly past much more quickly than evening ones. And have you noticed that if you are kept waiting on the telephone for two minutes, usually listening to some dreadful musak, that two minutes takes at least ten minutes inside your head? We all recognise that time stretches and shrinks according to how much of it we think is available to us.
I realise that I am trying fit a quart of work into the pint pot of my day, but I don’t want to give up reading blogs, writing my own and doing all the things that I feel are important to me – like writing my latest first draft before the Muse who beckoned me to it gives up and goes to visit someone more appreciative. You have probably noticed that I’m a bit time obsessed at the moment, so columns like this one draw me like a magnet and it did have some great ideas.
No. 3 on the list of smart ways to start your day:
Review your TO-DON’T list. A ‘TO-DON’T list’ is a list of things not to do. It might seem amusing, but it’s an incredibly useful tool for keeping track of unproductive habits, like checking Facebook and Twitter, randomly browsing news websites, etc. Create one and post it up in your workspace where you can see it.
Er – I seem to have abandoned my usual routine recently. Writing used to be the next thing on my list after getting out of bed and having a shower. Now I have a different agenda when I put the computer on. Blogs, Twitter and so on get attention first and I dip back into them at various points in the day. I have taken to doing this all the time and I think I have discovered why. It’s called Displacement Activity. Sue Healy recently posted about it and instantly I knew she was right. Take a look at
I have long known that I do this with housework. Well, it’s boring, isn’t it? So I cherry pick the less boring bits and run out of time for the things I’m not keen on doing at all. Like cleaning the windows. Or ironing. Very dull. I can always find a way to justify tidying the book shelves in self defence. Cleaning the windows comes low down on my list of priorities.
A ‘To-don’t’ list then would be a good idea. Beginning with: Do not dabble on the internet when you get a bit stuck in Chapter Three. Then there is suggestion number 8:
Put first things first. Successful people recognize that not all hours are created equal, and they strategically account for this when planning their day. For most of us, our minds operate at peak performance in the morning hours when we’re well rested. So obviously it would be foolish to use this time for a trivial task like reading emails. These peak performance hours should be 100% dedicated to working on the tasks that bring you closer to your goals.
And this is definitely where I am going wrong. I should be doing all those things that are most important to me before everything else. I am wasting my most productive, peak performance hours. For instance, this morning I spent an hour and a half on the telephone chasing a knob. No that was not a euphemism for an idiot, though it might well describe the person in the factory who packed a brand new electric heater into a box and sent it off for sale without the switch to turn it on. I will not go into details – far too boring and off the subject – but that hour and a half would have been much better spent upon my writing. I could have vented my spleen in telephone time later in the day, once I had several thousand words under my belt.
So I am very grateful to Marc and Angel Hack Life for the post because even if it were not meant for me, I found it very useful. And I will do my best to take their advice and use my morning hours in a more productive way.
Somebody – can’t remember who so I cannot give chapter and verse – said ‘Don’t work hard, work smart’. I think I should adopt this as my motto.
How about you? Do you work hard or do you work smart? And what comes first in your most productive hours – checking your emails and feeding Twitter or do you get down to doing what you really want to be doing?