We’re just coming off a 3-day holiday weekend. Sometimes, the first day back to work is a challenging Mt. Everest of things to do. Here are 7 things that you can do to help you get back into the groove of working. They are also good tips to help you be productive on a regular basis.
Arrive on time. Arriving on time for work (or even possibly a few minutes early) helps you get off on the right foot. You start the day feeling on top of things and get a feeling of accomplishment. This sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Don’t read your e-mail first thing. Sometimes people feel that they are productive when they check and respond to e-mail. Not necessarily so. Many messages are not a high priority and can be handled later in the day. Some messages can be a huge time-waster. People send you a link to a funny video – and you watch it. Next thing you know, you’ve checked the sports scores on line, scanned the news headlines, reviewed how your stocks are doing – and have wasted an hour and a half.
Eat that frog! Brian Tracey wrote a classic time-management book called Eat That Frog!. Tracey based the book’s title on a saying by Mark Twain: “If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad.” This means you should tackle your major task (which is usually unpleasant) first thing each morning.
Organize your day. Don’t get distracted first thing in the morning diving headfirst into unimportant things. Take a few minutes to jot down a simple to do list. Write down 2-3 critical things that you want to do for the day. They are the most important things that you need to do and if you do nothing else but these three things you’ll have been productive because they were the most important and valuable things to do.
Remember the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results. (This supports the ‘eat that frog’ idea.) Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday. Do only the 20 percent of ‘things’ that will yield you the ‘80’ percent results.
Don’t be moody. So you think you’re a night owl instead of a morning lark. “Suck it up,” says David Schindler, an employability specialist. Your mood at the beginning of the day sets the ‘attitude barometer’ for the rest of the day. Try to have a positive attitude by the time you arrive at work. You’ll be happier—and so will your co-workers. A grumpy mood infects other workers.
Keep an organized desk. A neat workspace also sets the tone for the day. For some people, it’s difficult to think clearly when surrounded by clutter. If you’re surrounded by a tornado of paper, the paper ‘wins’ and leaves you feeling swamped and overwhelmed.
“8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday.” LinkedIn; 15 May 2013.
“14 Things You Should Do at the Start of Every Work Day.” Weekend; 13 February 2013.
“What Successful People Do with The First Hour of Their Work Day.” Fast Company; 22 August 2012.