You casually glance away from the Excel sheet you’re working on and down at the time in the bottom corner of your screen, expecting to see 10:00 a.m., maybe 10:30. But nope—it’s noon. NOON! And you’ve barely crossed off to-do No. 1.
OK, so maybe you pressed snooze one too many times, couldn’t find anything to wear in your closet and so you got in a little late. And maybe you shouldn’t have sat down in your swivel chair and started the day with an “I’ll just check Facebook real quick” (that newsfeed is an infinity scroll, you know that right?).
Your a.m. grind is looking less like a grind and more like procrastination at its finest. So how can you turn that time drain into productivity? We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council, “What one choice in your routine makes your mornings more productive?” to find out.
1. Standardize your wardrobe.
I have basically limited my wardrobe to my everyday clothes and the occasional formal wear. It’s one less decision to make in the morning, and laundry is way easier.
—Ivan Matkovic, Spendgo
2. Vent with 750 Words.
Before starting the day, I go to 750 Words and vent. I write down worries, things to do, ideas, stories, strategies—whatever is weighing down my mind. It takes me about 10-12 minutes to write 750 words, and by the end of this period, my mind feels clearer and I’m free to start the day without mental clutter and chatter. My productivity has increased significantly.
—Marcela DeVivo, National Debt Relief
3. Start your workday from home.
On most mornings, I spend at least two hours working before I head into the office. This gives me time to prioritize my most important tasks and work on them with limited interruptions before my day at the office “officially” begins. Although I get into the office later (usually around 10 a.m.), I get at least double the work accomplished in those first two hours than if I were in the office.
—Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
4. Put your phone on airplane mode.
Set your phone to airplane mode in the morning. Do not turn it off until you are in the office and your first major task is complete. This allows me to stay focused on my morning routine. I don’t get caught up in social media or reading articles or emails. I allow myself to prepare for the day, and then I catch up when I am ready.
—Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
5. Listen to audiobooks at twice the speed.
I recently moved and now have a 40-minute drive to the office. I use that time to make calls and listen to a ton of business audiobooks. The secret is to play them at 2x speed. Now I soak up the same amount of information in half the time!
—Thomas Cullen, LaunchPad Lab
6. Block off time.
I start each morning at the office by checking how everyone is doing and asking if they need anything. After this, I block off time to respond to emails and make calls. This lessens the amount of distractions I get throughout the day.
—Jayna Cooke, EVENTup
7. Time your social media usage (biz and personal).
It’s so easy to get sucked into updates on social media. I have started limiting myself to one hour and/or one big cup of coffee to review everything that’s happened in the last 10 hours. This keeps me focused on only answering relevant business messages, interacting with our fans briefly and moving on to the rest of my to-do list. Other social media check-ins are 10 minutes or less.
—Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.