It’s 9 am and time to get to work! You grab your planner, you sit at your computer and you start your work. Not quite! Not surprisingly it often takes a warm up of sorts to get started. A warm up prepares you to do the work you intend. It’s not only motivation. It’s also at times physical and cognitive acts that prepare us to do our best work. What does that look like to warm up? Here’s some possibilities of how to start your work day.
Self care start to your day
With so many possibilities, perhaps a self care warm up will suit your need to clear your mind and focus on work. There’s several ways the self care focus appears to us. Many of my clients start their days with meditation. Spending time in meditation offers the benefits of lowered stress, greater focus and clarity. Another choice is a spiritual start to your day, including a bible reading or prayer time. Getting in touch with God helps us align our thoughts with our spirituality. A physical self care warm up incudes drinking a glass of water, taking any medications, exercising, and eating protein. Your self care warm up might be also called your routine for starting your day.
List making start to your day
As part of the strategy of Getting Things Done (GTD), there’s always a mind sweep. It’s how we clear our thoughts and capture them. A list is a great way to start your day and clear your mind to prepare to start real work. Simply writing down all your thoughts in a capture tool either paper or digital helps give you clarity.
Now what about all those thoughts and ideas? This is when we must prioritize. We can’t and should not do everything on the list. It’s our priorities that rise to the top for our work. I call these Most Important Tasks (MITs). If you want to start your work quickly the next day, write out your MITs at the close of your work day in preparation for the next day’s work.
Verbal processing to start your day
Team up with a partner for a short conversation to start your day. Many of us are verbal processors, meaning that in talking through a thought we can become clear on next steps. It’s also a great tool to remind us where we are, what our thoughts are, and our current task. A short team meeting can help you start your work day with priorities.
Creative ways to start your day
In my conversations with clients, here’s a list of ways they have decided to start their work day.
- Start your day by drawing or writing on a white board. A mind map, a picture or an icon can be the visual start for your work day. Use this big space to be creative and connect your thoughts.
- A quick morning shower where ideas percolate. Capture your ideas with a waterproof voice recorder.
- Don’t hold back. Start. Then assess after the first hour what you have accomplished from yesterday’s list.
- Do the babiest of baby steps to a big goal. Chunk your list into manageable steps over the time of a week.
- Create a metric. Determine a measure of what you want to accomplish in a certain amount of time.
Once you know how to start your work day, create a daily routine that empowers this. Write it down, share it with your colleagues, and tweak it as you work.
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