Command the first part of your day

by Jack Warren, editor and host of Top Coach Podcast

What do the first two hours of your day look like? That’s a question that is often asked to successful people. That’s because, almost without exception, these folks have a strategic approach to the first part of their day.

Examine what you’re doing in the morning. If you find yourself arriving just in time for your first meeting or being easily knocked off course by emails or texts, then you are not in control of your schedule. If you’re looking to lay a foundation from which you can launch a successful next 16 hours, then you must take charge. Planning is the key.

Be strategic with the first 1.5-2 hours of the day. Set this time aside for you and you only. Let this be the time when you gather yourself, reflect on previous day, and set your course for what you’d like to achieve. Here is a short list of suggestions to get you started:

  • Do not check your email first thing! Once you open that door, your email is in control of your calendar. Other people have set your agenda.
  • Do not dive into the news first thing. Before the world is unleashed on you, set your mind right.
  • Allow for a quiet time. Some people read and pray. Some people meditate. Find what serves you best to get your mind and spirit right.
  • Review your to-do list from the prior day.
  • Create a new to-do list for the day. Dan McDonnell suggests doing this before bedtime the prior night. Barbara Corcoran says to make it a written list – on paper. She says that the feeling of satisfaction you get by physically crossing off a to-do item trumps any convenience of the electronic alternatives.
  • Get your blood flowing. Full workout or short dog walk. There are many benefits to some measure of physical activity.
  • Complete something as soon as possible. Admiral William McRaven encourages you to make your bed first thing every day.
  • A shower and breakfast would be beneficial as well. 🙂

If you often find yourself midway through your day feeling frustrated because you got knocked off course by unforeseen events and unwelcome (or welcome) distractions, then perform an honest assessment. Are you leaving yourself enough time to plan and structure the day ahead? If not, then you may need to set your alarm for an hour earlier. Are you one of those night owls that gets much accomplished late at night and wake up just a bit later? Still block off the first portion of your day.

No matter what your normal work dictates, you can still find a way to control the critical early hours of your schedule. Find a way to make it happen. It will change your life.

Jack is available to speak to your team or organization or at your next function. He also provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting. You can get more information on these services at Jack’s professional services site,

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