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The First Thing Successful People Do Every Day

The First Thing Successful People Do Every Day

How do successful people cope with that first half hour of work? What they do in that crucial time can usually set the tone for the rest of the day. Many people are convinced that their early morning work routine is an important element in their success. Let’s look at what these successful people do every day, first thing, and maybe learn a few tricks from them along the way.

Tony Robbins practices gratitude and visualization

The famous life coach to the stars recommends starting each work day with being grateful for what you have. He says that you should spend up to 15 minutes thinking about being grateful for everything positive in your life. He also advocates that you then try to understand what you are committed to and what you want from life. This leads to the peak state which gives you the certainty to succeed.

“Take thoughts and turn them into actions, turn them into results, turn your dreams into reality.” —Tony Robbins

Tim Cook does his email at 4:30 a.m.

Many people advocate staying away from email until they get well into the day’s work. Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, firmly believes in getting them out of the way first. He says it leaves him time to concentrate on the top priorities when he gets to the office.

David Karp checks his email when he arrives at the office

The founder of Tumblr is against all kinds of scheduling and manages an enormously successful blogging platform which hosts about 17.5 million blogs. He never checks email at home but does it when he arrives at the office. He says that it helps him to prioritize tasks for the day.

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Setting up filters using Awayfind.com is one way of sorting out all unimportant mails if you feel you are overwhelmed. It will only deliver top priority emails and texts.

Julie Morgenstern, the author of Never Check E-mail in The Morning, takes a different approach and has put forward lots of different ways of becoming more efficient at work.

Mark Twain recommended doing the hardest task first

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”—Mark Twain

Mark Twain was a great advocate of getting the hardest and most daunting task (in other words, the frog) done first thing in the morning. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction will keep you on a high as you get through all the other jobs.

Howard Schultz believes in getting priorities established

The Starbucks CEO usually spends the first hour getting priorities sorted. But he has already done some cycling with his wife and still manages to arrive at his office by 6 a.m.

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Geraldine Laybourne believes in helping the next generation

The ex-CEO of Oxygen Channel is a great believer in offering advice to young people. She likes to do that by taking a walk with them in Central Park very early. She believes early risers deserve to be helped and she herself manages to get some exercise.

Laura Vanderkam recommends writing a challenging report or email

Laura is the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. She says that writing needs concentration and the best time to do it is in the first hour of the day, when distractions, interruptions, and meetings are at a minimum. Willpower will be at its peak during that first half hour.

John Grisham believes in a strict routine

Writing, according to the great author, requires self-discipline. He always followed a set routine in getting going during the first hour when he was working as a lawyer. He got up at 5 a.m.and had to be in the office with a cup of coffee by 5:30 a.m. By that time the first words had to be written. He had to write a page a day, whether it took him 10 minutes or two hours. It was only then that he would start his law work.

Todd Smith always greets colleagues appropriately

Todd Smith has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, and his book Little Things Matter is a manual on how to treat colleagues and peers. Naturally, he talks about how important greeting your co-workers is.

Nothing worse than people not saying “good morning,” or ignoring you altogether. It is very important to build teamwork, boost morale and also to bond with the people you work with by greeting them or exchanging a friendly word or two. This is especially important in the first half hour as people are feeling fragile or have low morale.

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Following email etiquette also helps. A good idea is not to overload the CC circuit and only copy in the people who are directly involved.

Benjamin Franklin always wanted to be helpful in the morning

“The Morning Question: What good shall I do this day?”—Benjamin Franklin

Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, shares Franklin’s views. He starts the day by doing good, too. He strongly believes that helping a co-worker solve a problem or introducing two contacts are ways to create positive karma, and you will always receive some in return. Building goodwill and support is the best way to start your day.

Steve Murphy devotes morning time to planning

The CEO of Rodale urges people to set aside the first hour or so to thinking time and jotting down ideas and priorities on a notepad. This makes his work much more strategic and proactive. It was William Blake’s quote that inspired him to start doing this.

“Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.” —William Blake

Tim Armstrong recommends learning and listening

The CEO of AOL does a lot of his emails in his hour-long journey to work. As he has a driver, he can easily do that. He prefers to use his office time learning and listening to colleagues and networking.

As we have seen, a lot of successful people deal with emails the moment they get up and try to get them out of the way for more strategic work when they actually get to the office. Everybody has a different working style.

Do you do some of the things successful people do every day? Let us know in the comments how you cope with that dreaded first half hour.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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