When you’re growing up, a school morning goes something like this:
- Mom (or alarm) wakes you up at a reasonable time to get ready without rushing
- You roll back over, complain about how early it is and bargain for more time
- At the last possible minute, you crawl out of bed
- Find something to wear, often it’s in the dirty laundry, so you settle for what is on the floor
- Can’t find socks; lose 7 minutes looking; ultimately you wear different shoes to compensate
- Eat half a bowl of cereal, rushing with mom’s warnings of the impending bus arrival
- Brush teeth (on a good day) for about 10 seconds; hear bus at neighbors
- Look for homework; realize it’s down in the basement; you start yelling at your mom to get it for you or you’ll miss the bus
- Fly out the door as the bus is honking, realizing you never combed your hair; thank god for a hair tie in your backpack.
I’m amazed to find out how many working adults mornings have not changed much from the above. Add in their own kids, finding the car keys, feeding the dog, and the scene is still rushed chaos, though the teeth get brushed for a little longer.
A rushed, disorganized morning robs you and your company of at least an hour of productivity when arriving and perhaps even much of your day. Why? It’s pretty simple: mind frame.
Let’s take a look at two people – one who has the morning above and one who gets up a little earlier (often meaning to bed a little earlier), or – for those who aren’t early risers, does some simple things to prep for their day the night before.
By start-time, the morning rusher needs to do the following things to get to productivity:
- Grab coffee
- Eat something, often at their desk
- Do something to clear their head: read some news, talk to coworkers, put on some music
- Think about what they are doing about dinner that night; this may involve texting the spouse or roommate to plan
- Realize they don’t have a lunch and stress about eating out again
- And so on
All of that can take up to an hour of mental time, leaving the morning rusher behind, unfocused, and unprepared for the day. All it takes to put this person on the skids for a bad day is something unexpected that hits them sometime in that first hour; a client call, an employee or coworker needing input now, an issue that must be addressed right away, or a forgotten early morning meeting.
Leaders know this doesn’t work. And what’s more, they’ve learned that no matter if they are night owls or naturally early risers (we have one of each at my house), there is nothing more important to the success of their day than how it begins.
It’s obvious to most around you how you start your day. And those who will lead will stand out just by having a few things in order by the time they hit the door. Fed, rested, and mentally prepared.
There are many blogs and articles written about fist-pumping mornings; Elon Musk gets up at 4am. And the morning rushers read these, realize they are never going to invent people moving tunnels or build rockets and roll back over.
I’m glad for inventors like Elon who get up at 4am because they are genetically wired to do so. But for the rest of us, I’m offering up a pretty simple idea for greater success at work, which we all need.
Get control of the morning.
If you are even remotely still getting up at the last moment like a school kid, rushing through the morning, and sliding in the door hungry and frustrated, consider a better way. Wondering why you aren’t being tapped for the projects you want? Asked for help from those you work with? Treated like one of the adults in the room? Or just feeling like you’re in a rut at work?
Get control of the morning.
So for all of us not sending rockets to the moon, stay tuned for part 2 of “A Case for Getting Control of Your Mornings” as I’ll be sharing my favorite morning tips to lead you into each new day with zest.