General Interim Management & Executive Support

Starting the day right helps effective leaders to stand out

starting the day Starting the day right can take as little as two minutes and will make a difference to the rest of your day.
Thought leader @Guy Kawasaki recently highlighted one approach on Facebook, the two-minute routine, based on writing down just three simple statements with which you identify:

  1. I will let go of ….
  2. I am grateful for ….
  3. I will focus on ….

The idea is that we all wake up with thoughts swimming round in our heads that crop up to distract us, even if they are only in the background, as the day progresses and that to function at our most effective we need to settle and let go of these thoughts.
There are always massive demands on the time of busy executives and so starting the day with a clear mind and focus is important as is scheduling the day and being able to stick to tasks without distraction.
This simple technique also allows you to acknowledge concerns that are on your mind by considering them and then put them in a box so you don’t obsess over them and they don’t intrude when dealing with other matters. This is also a great tactic for dealing with anxiety albeit the subject of previous blogs.
There is no one way to set up your day, it is simply a matter of finding a routine that prepares you for being productive. Indeed writer John Rampton advocates using productivity tips and creating and sticking to an efficient daily schedule. He says, it is more than just simply making lists. It starts with understanding your “Why”, setting priorities and estimating how long the tasks will take.
The result will be that you work smarter, not harder and ultimately accomplish much more.
Rampton quotes the example of Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, who argues ““How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days.”
For Elrod starting the day right meant waking at 5am each morning to spend time in silence, meditating, reading and exercising.
For others, as in the two-minute example above, the routine for starting the day may be different, but what they all have in common is that they are quiet times alone to focus and help to declutter the mind before the demands of the day begin.
When I was in the army we had something similar referred to as the 6Ps: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Yes it was still called the 6Ps.

Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

Successful people take time to set themselves up for the day

Over the next few blogs we will be looking at some of the things that successful people do that help them to stay ahead of the game.
The start of the day is important so taking time to pause, plan and reflect can make all the difference.  It is all about mental preparation and getting it right can make all the difference to the rest of the day.
Avoiding being plunged into the day and having others clamouring immediately for your time and attention before you are ready should be part of your preparation.
Take a few minutes to ensure physical comfort by ensuring the desk chair is correctly adjusted, and keyboard, mouse, telephone and any other equipment needed are all within easy reach.
Once that has been done it is time to prepare mentally.  That can mean reflecting on anything that has happened and deciding on whether a course of action is needed, thinking ahead and reminding oneself of one’s goals throughout the next week or month and identifying the steps to be taken.
This is part of “decluttering” the mind to allow room for the creative part to come to the surface. The second part of this process is to take a moment to pause and be in the present.
There are 5-minute mindfulness exercises that can help with this.  They can be done sitting in an upright chair with both feet on the ground. This is a very simple example: close the eyes and focus only on the breathing. On each out breath press the thumb of the right hand into the palm of the left, then on each in breath, release the pressure.
Carrying out this exercise or similar ones for five minutes at the start of the day has been shown to encourage creative thinking and to cut out the usual busy mind “noise” that can get in the way of a clear vision.