HOW TO USE YOUR MORNING TO BECOME MORE SUCCESFUL (AND MORE HAPPY)
As Mark Twain once said, “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.” In other words, get the tough stuff out of the way.
For most people, the early morning is one of the few parts of the day that is unencumbered by the demands of work or family. Unfortunately, we often accomplish little of importance in these precious hours before the day begins in earnest. This lost time is especially valuable because it represents an opportunity to focus on the big-picture issues, which often lose out to less meaningful but more urgent concerns. While picking up the dry cleaning may have a deadline, spending time to think about your long-term ambitions does not, but it's clear which activity is more important. The early morning is the perfect opportunity to focus on activities that foster self-development and personal well-being.
Laura Vanderkam is a time-management expert, and the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. She argues that extremely successful people spend the vast majority of their time on three things: their career, their family, and themselves. “Since the hours will be filled by something no matter what we do, sometimes its easier to just go with it and let life happen to you,” says Vanderkam. This passive approach to managing your morning results in limited productivity early in the day.
Instead, seize your morning by focusing on the things that are most important to you. Take some time at the beginning of your day to identify your priorities, and allocate your time accordingly. Vanderkam recommends keeping a “time journal” to get a better idea of how you're spending (or wasting) your time. “A lot of problems with time management stem from not thinking about how we'd like to use our time,” she writes.
Self-help author and entrepreneur Brian Tracy agrees. He stresses the importance of deciding what your most important tasks are, and then focusing on these tasks until they are complete. Tracy argues that this process is “the key to high levels of performance and personal productivity. By concentrating on your most important task,” he writes, “you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more.” In Twain's words, remember to eat your frogs early and often.