September brings a mixed bag of emotions. It means that summer is coming to an end, the days are getting shorter and temperatures are dropping. But why does the coming of September bring with it stress?
Maybe because we have been conditioned since childhood and attending kindergarten that this is “new clothes, fresh start, sharp pencils, can I find things? will I know anyone? can I do it? scary-yet-exciting-beginnings” time of year.
How can we use this time of year to our advantage and translate that new yet uncertain feeling to our workplace in a less stressful way?
September is a good time to take a look at how you start each work day.
The beginning of your work day can certainly affect your productivity for the whole day. Look at your morning routine. Does it set the tone for a successful day?
The beginning of the work day can have a significant effect on your level of productivity and stress over the following day—so it’s important you have a morning routine that sets you up for success.
Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith, along with career and workplace experts Lynn Taylor, David Shindler, Michael Kerr, Anita Attridge, Alexandra Levit and Michael Woodward, compiled a list of things all workers should do when they get to work each morning.
Here are some highlights from their list:
Arrive on time.
Take a deep breath.
“Literally,” says Michael Kerr. “And do something to focus in on the here and now.” Many people come into work harried because they don’t leave enough time at home to deal with “home stuff,” he says, “and then they’ve barely survived another horrendously stressful commute, and then they dive into the madness.” Slowing down, taking a moment to pause, and creating a routine around centering yourself can work wonders, he adds.
After the deep breath, give yourself five minutes to get settled in, says Michael Woodward. “This is a good way to set the tone of the day.”
Start each day with a clean slate.
You may have to attend to projects or discussions that rolled over from the previous afternoon—but try to treat each day as a fresh one, says David Shindler.
Organize your day.
The first hour of the work day is the best time to assess priorities and to focus on what you absolutely need to accomplish, Kerr says. “Too many people get distracted first thing in the morning with unimportant activities such as diving right into their morass of e-mail, when there may be a whole host of more important issues that need dealing with.” Make a to-do list, or update the one you made the previous day, and try to stick to it.
Ensure that your work space is organized.
Clearing off the desk and creating a neat workspace sets a tone for the rest of the day, says Alexandra Levit. If you’re stuck in a routine that doesn’t include these must-dos, it may be worthwhile to re-examine your habits and make some changes… Taylor suggests.
This is a great time to start some new morning work habits that will eventually become routine.