How to Be More Productive In Your First Hour of Work

How to Be More Productive In Your First Hour of Work

After you grab coffee, chat with your coworkers, and scan your email, the first hour of your workday has blown by. Here's the recipe for a more productive morning.

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Have breakfast before work


Don't wait until you get to the office to reach for your morning yogurt. Sitting in front of the computer with food and coffee make you more likely to surf blogs and social media instead of jumping to important tasks, says Laura Stack, productivity speaker and author of Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time. "You can't really work when you've got a spoon in hand and are constantly reaching for something," she says. "You get this laidback feeling, and it's not as productive as having both hands on the keyboard." Don't miss these 18 tips for a productive, stress-free morning.

Make the right to-do list


Most people write to-do lists with easy tasks on top so they can feel good about crossing those items off, says Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of Smarter Better Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. But this system helps self-esteem, not productivity. Instead, organize your list with long-term goals on top to remind you of what's most important, and daily goals on the bottom to plan how you'll reach them. Daily tasks should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and have a timetable—what Duhigg calls SMART goals. Being realistic about the time you have and how long a task will take can help ensure you accomplish what you plan to.

Set a timer

iStock/Dmitrii Kotin

Force yourself to stay in the zone by setting strict chunks of uninterrupted work, says Kevin Kruse, New York Times bestselling author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Setting a 50-minute timer will give a long enough period to get into the zone and put a dent in your work before taking a 10-minute break. "If you get that itch to get up or look something up on the Internet, the timer says you can hold off for 20 more minutes," Kruse says. Most cell phones have built-in stopwatches, but Kruse recommends a separate kitchen timer or hourglass for a visual reminder that keeps your hands away from the distraction of your phone notifications. Don't miss these daily habits of naturally productive people.

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