The First Hour

Changed Priorities Ahead
Photo from add1sun's Flickr

Your first hour of work is sacred. It often determines the pace of the rest of the day and how you are going to get things done. The habit of most people is to check their email. Their inbox is screaming with varied requests across a variety of topics. It puts the brain into overdrive quickly.

I try to avoid checking my email first. It makes me beholden to the urgent which can derail what is important quickly. That first hour is critical for getting done the things that builds assets and that is what I want to focus on first. The rest of the day can be filled with the mix of strategic and responsive requests.

Here are the assets I invest in first:

  • My mind. I like reading a few chapters of a book or several books I am studying. It sets the pace and tone for my mind addressing the world’s problems and trying to make a difference with others.
  • My audience. Writing and publishing content around leadership, productivity, marketing and entrepreneurship serves my readers and crystallizes my own thinking. My largest asset is the content I produce and the way I use it to serve my clients. This has to come first. Articles, ebooks and books I am working on come first thing when my mind is at peace.
  • My body. I like to run or take walks. It opens up the brain and helps me to detach. It also keeps my body tuned for action. If I don’t feel well, then I don’t work well. It’s all interconnected. The work today we do is a marathon not a sprint. Having sound bodies is critical.
  • The Number One Thing. This changes all the time. There is usually a top project. I try and put in time on this first. This way if anything happens to the rest of the day, I pushed the ball forward on what mattered. It gives me great peace of mind. It takes discipline and a focused decision. The demands of the world scream.

The inbox is tempting and pulls relentlessly. However, the habit of committing that first hour makes all the difference in the world for pushing forward what matters. If the rest of the day becomes derailed, I know I got the important work done first. Turn off the phones. Shut down your inbox and chat. Try focusing  yourself on the thing that builds assets first. You are better for yourself and the world by so doing.

What do you think of trying this yourself?

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