We’ve talked a lot about morning routines from a health and sanity perspective — but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about everyone’s morning office routines — particularly about whether people have built any good habits for the morning routine at work, or how they ensure productivity as soon as they get to the office. Here are the questions about your morning office routine:
- What time do you aim to get to work?
- What is your commute like, and what do you do on your commute? Do you go straight to the office or stop somewhere (coffee shop, gym, daycare) along the way?
- What do you do as soon as you get to the office — talk with your assistant? Review a to-do list? Go to a meeting?
- Do you have any “first thing at work” habits that you’ve purposely built to maximize productivity for yourself — and have you had to break yourself of any bad habits (like, say, surfing the Internet for far too long in the morning)? Examples of this might be listing THREE things (no more!) that you want to get done on a Post-it, or avoiding the computer for an hour to focus on a paper project…
- Bonus Q – if extra work needs to be done, do you prefer to do it in the morning or at night? Do you prefer/need to be in the office for the extra work, or can you usually take it home?
For my $.02, these are some of the morning office routines I’ve used over the years:
1 – When I worked in offices, I tended to roll in on the later side — 9:30 was about the earliest I ever got to work, both in magazines and in BigLaw.
2 – I would walk whenever possible for my commute, both to get some exercise and because I’ve always hated the subway. (Be smart about your commuting shoes, ladies — I still blame a lot of my current foot problems on my decision to walk 1-3 miles daily in blocky 3″ Steve Madden shoes. (Not quite these but close.)
3 – First order of business at work was usually to put lunch or breakfast in the fridge and grab another cup of coffee — but I am definitely prone (even now) to falling into the “let’s just check the news!” trap and looking up and realizing that I’ve spent 60 minutes (or more) futzing around the Internet.
4 – Good habits – In part to avoid falling into Internet rabbitholes, I’ve developed some good habits like using the Chrome browser app OneTab to quickly close any tabs I left open the night before, making the list of three things to accomplish, or working in a different place to help promote focus on work projects (I used to just go to the visitor’s side of my desk when I was in BigLaw). I’ve also used “night before” tricks like leaving sentences unfinished the night before, so when I come into work first thing I could pick up the train of thought I’d dropped the night before. Coming in to a clean desk is also helpful.
5 – When I’ve needed to get stuff done, I know my energy and focus is better in the morning — so where possible I prefer to work from home in the mornings — sometimes I’ve started by getting up really early, such as 3 AM. In the evenings, though, I’ve always preferred to stay at work to get stuff done — I have so many boundary rituals and so forth it’s hard for me to continue the work flow once I walk through the door.
How about you, ladies? What are your morning office routines — what do you as soon as you get to the office?