By Veronica Boutelle
As small business owners we live with never-ending to-do lists and a constant frustration that there aren’t more hours in the day. While we can’t do anything about that last complaint, it turns out that how we use the first hour of each day can significantly improve the productivity of the rest.
Many successful people and “success gurus” have weighed in on how to use that first hour. While there’s no consensus about the one best way to start the workday, there are several strategies to experiment and play with to see what works best for you.
What definitely doesn’t work is starting your day with email or social media. We’ve all experienced it: A whole day spent at our desks, fully focused, with only an empty email inbox and lots of Facebook chatting to show for it. We may feel a false sense of accomplishment—we worked hard but not on anything that pushed the business ahead—or deflated at the end of it all that nothing got done. That’s email and social media for you.
Though it’s hard to imagine work or personal life without them these days, the truth is email and social media are every bit as much a hindrance to productivity as they are a boon. And once you’re sucked into the vortex for the day it’s hard to get out. Better to relegate your email and social media to specific time blocks if you can, leaving larger blocks of uninterrupted time for project productivity and serving clients.
If the nature of your business requires heavier client communication—pet sitting clients wanting to check in on their dogs, for example, or walking or daycare clients needing a change in their schedule—train clients to know when to expect you to be online, put policies in place about timing of schedule notifications, and provide an emergency text number (but be sure to clearly define “emergency”).
With email and Facebook off your morning plate you’ll be ready to give your workdays a smarter, more satisfying start with one of many alternative activities. You might choose a morning strategy designed to push your business ahead. Or your morning routine might focus on increasing your physical and mental energy. Or perhaps your best start is prioritizing what fuels you personally. Whatever you choose, being deliberate about how you start your workdays is the best way we know to add hours (or at least productivity!) to your day.
About the Author
Veronica Boutelle is the founder of dogbiz, the pet industry’s leading business support company. Veronica and her team have been helping R+ dog pros pursue successful dream careers since 2003. Learn more about dogbiz products and services at www.dogbizsuccess.com. Read more about successful morning strategies to rock your dog pro workday in the dogbiz Blog.