I can’t stop thinking about a Fast Company
article called “What Successful People Do With the First Hour of the Day
” (which Mitch Joel
recommended in his roundup last weekend
In the story, writer Kevin Purdy reveals how business leaders—including Tumblr founder David Karp
and motivational speaker Tony Robbins
—start their days.
Guess how most do not
start their days?
Some do, however, spend their first hour meditating, exercising, and/or visualizing their days.
Others work on the biggest project of the day so it’s behind them and the little stuff can get accomplished in between meetings and calls.
And yet others—such as Craiglist founder Craig Newmark
—spend their first hour on customer service, putting out fires, managing complaints, and responding to customers on both Craigslist and the boards.
My first hour
I’m writing this column during my first hour of the day. I woke up at 4:45 a.m., with a 106-pound dog staring me in the face. After I whispered, “Just half an hour more,” he settled his nose into my neck and we slept until 5:23.
After feeding and walking him, I turned on my laptop and began to write.
It won’t take me the full hour to finish, so I’ll also schedule tweets about it for the day, read and schedule the guest post on my blog; I’ll schedule tweets promoting that post, and I’ll spend about 30 minutes reading and commenting on other blogs.
When I’m done, it will be 7 a.m. and then
I’ll get into my email. After that, I’ll look at Facebook and Twitter. And then my day will truly begin.
When we had an office—my firm works remotely—the first hour was always spent writing the day’s blog post, after which I’d ride my bike. But this year, my New Year’s resolution was focus
and that included taking a break after I’d been sitting at my desk for six or seven hours. So now I ride at noon.
Your first hour
“But Gini,” I’ll hear some of you say, “I don’t own a company” or “I don’t have that kind of flexibility” or “I can’t get up that early” or “I’m not a morning person” or about a zillion other excuses.
When I worked at Rhea & Kaiser
, the receptionist sat at the front desk and “clocked” you in each morning. We had to be there by 8:30 a.m., but for some reason (even though I lived less than 10 minutes away), I could not—for the life of me—get there before 8:45.
I used to go round and round with Steve Rhea because I was always there until 8 p.m. or later and
I did a ton of travel with clients. None of that counted in the extra 15 minutes I felt like I had to use for sleeping instead of getting to work on time.
“But I’m not a morning person,” I’d whine to him.
Perhaps he created the 5 a.m. monster, but 10 years later, my brain rarely functions past 6 p.m., yet I get a ton accomplished before noon.
My point is, you can be a morning person. You can create your own flexibility. You can tackle your biggest project of the day—from home. You can choose not to get into your email until later.
It doesn’t matter whether you own the joint. It’s about what enables you to be productive. Any boss will be happy with your system if you’re productive.
So how do you spend your first hour each day?
Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich. This post originally ran on Spin Sucks.