Workplace Productivity: Your First To-Do of the Day

What’s the first thing you do when you begin your day? What do you literally do when you sit down to begin working?

Many people do the “beverage ritual.” They get all their beverages just right and their snacks all lined up and settled. Maybe they do a little bit of checking on blog postings to see what’s come in and of course visit Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Next they check e-mail and get sucked into that vortex for a couple of hours. Now what time is it? Lunchtime! How do you feel after lunch? Probably pretty low energy. What do you feel like working on? Nothing. At least nothing that requires a very high level of energy and focus.

I would suggest instead that you think very carefully about the leading activity of your day, because it’s going to set you up for success or failure that day. My suggestion is every day, you sit down—as the last thing you do before you leave the office—and ask yourself, “If there were one thing that I could accomplish tomorrow in order for me to feel like it was a productive day, what would that one thing be?”

I challenge you when you get to work the next morning, don’t do anything until you sit down and do that one thing. Whether it’s recording a quick two-minute episode of a new video series that you are starting, writing an article, or doing a proposal, pick something that’s going to require a fairly high level of concentration, brain power, problem solving, decision-making, or only have the capacity to do when you’re at your highest energy level.

Most people have the majority of their energy in the morning. If so, do the important task first thing. Can you not even open your Outlook, or your Internet browser, or do anything until that one thing is complete?

When it’s done, check your e-mail as a reward. I promise you that one singular habit will make your day start off on the right track and help you leave at the end of the day feeling like you got the most important thing done.

Please share your tips and tricks on how to get your day started in the most productive manner. I look forward to hearing your ideas!



  1. Hi Laura,
    My productive tip is based on being a home-based business. I take care of the basic household needs and start dinner for that night before going to my office. That way when I “Leave the Office Early” as your book title says, my dinner is basically started. I learned this from Sidetracked Home Executives who called it, “coming home to yourself”.