The Five Morning Habits of Highly Effective Workers

By Julailah Wahid

Research suggests that being a highly-effective worker begins with your morning routines. While foreseeing the day’s events is impossible, you can always be in control of how situations are handled and the quality of work that you produce. How? Well, according to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, mornings hold the key to taking control of your schedules.

So what exactly does an efficient worker do every morning?

Have breakfast
The saying that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” holds much truth.

Although having breakfast may not be a top priority for some, it's the first step in obtaining an efficient day. You don't have to chow down a big breakfast if your tummy resists. Simple meals like scrambled eggs or kaya toast with coffee should keep you feeling satiated till lunchtime.

Having breakfast gives you energy and fuel for the day, especially after a long “fasting” period during sleep – it's called “breakfast” after all! Letting your body run on empty till lunchtime might also make you lose concentration due to distracting hunger pangs, which will then lead to some sugar or high-calorie snacking.

Be punctual
Or even better, arrive at least five minutes earlier than your usual clock-in time. Nobody wants to reach their desk 30 minutes late panting and drenched in perspiration. Make it a point to reach the office early to organise your desk, scan the inbox for urgent emails and nibble on some breakfast. Time is of the essence, and arriving to work early can actually help you get any outstanding or administrative tasks out of the way. Just like how you need a warm-up before you begin a rigorous workout, this grace period helps you settle down and get ready to face the rest of the long workday.

Plan and maximise the day
Planning your day is one of the most important steps in being more productive at work. Draft a to-do list to help prioritise your work according to deadlines or urgency. This will help you complete the most demanding tasks first, which leads to a more relaxed rest of the day. Ending the workday with no urgent matters and tasks nagging at you will also keep you from bringing your work home or staying in the office late.

Set a goal
Whether the goal has to do with work or personal circumstance, setting one at the start of each day helps give you a clear direction. It doesn’t have to be lofty ambitions that involve clinching a huge deal or scoring a promotion. Small, realistic goals such as “I am going to finish at least two reports by 5pm”, or “I am going to make 10 sales calls before lunch,” are good. Besides helping you stay focused, having a goal in mind can make accomplishing it taste much sweeter.

Stay positive
Your mood in the morning can actually set the tone for the rest of the day. Even if you hate Mondays just like the other 300 employees in your office building, or if you are really just not a “morning person”, try your best to remain positive. Coming to work all sullen and pessimistic will not only put an anchor on you, but it can also bring the moods of your colleagues down.

People usually feed off each other’s moods, especially in an office environment where verbal communication is vital. Team leaders should also be inspiring, not tiring. One way to cultivate productivity is through consistent motivation and encouragement, so give your colleague a pat on the back, thank the pantry lady for making your coffee, and greet everyone with a warm smile!

Already practising these habits? Give your productivity a boost with these helpful apps.style="color:#091EA4">