Good Beginnings

How do you start your day? Checking email? Catching up on office gossip? A leading business magazine asked several successful entrepreneurs what they do when they first get to their desks.

The most surprising answer has to do with email. Many of them put off checking their email until 10 am, or even later. It’s a way to take charge of the day. If you let email decide what you do and when you do it, you end up feeling pushed around and unfocused. Instead, take the first few minutes to organize yourself and make sure you’re keeping first things first.

Second, they try to tackle at least one hard task first thing in the morning. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning,” Mark Twain once said, “and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” Organize the task the day before, then tackle it first thing the next morning. You’re fresh, there aren’t a lot of distractions, and before long the job is done. Then wade into emails and other issues. But for the rest of the day, nothing else looks so bad, and you’ve done something difficult.

The third thing is gratitude. Try to think of a dozen things you’re grateful for, in your job, your family, your marriage, and your personal life. A grateful spirit is winsome, and it’s contagious. It improves the way you interact with people.

And that’s the last thing: these leaders keep themselves grounded in the human side of business. Whether through direct customer service, following up with contacts, or checking in with co-workers you don’t see very often, putting a human face on what you do during that first hour can remind you why you’re doing this.

Starting strong; staying focused—good beginnings make for good days.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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