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What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

*Great Article We Found on FastCompany.com*

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

BY KEVIN PURDY

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AUGUST 22, 2012

How much does the first hour of every day matter? As it turns out, a lot. It can be the hour you see everything clearly, get one real thing done, and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list.

 

Remember when you used to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, maybe knock out a few tasks? It was called home room, and it went away after high school. But many successful people schedule themselves a kind of grown-up home room every day. You should too.

The first hour of the workday goes a bit differently for Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy, and others, and they’ll tell you it makes a big difference. Here are the first items on their daily to-do list.

Don’t Check Your Email for the First Hour. Seriously. Stop That.

Tumblr founder David Karp will “try hard” not to check his email until 9:30 or 10 a.m., according to an Inc. profile of him. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive,” Karp said. “If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.”

Not all of us can roll into the office whenever our Vespa happens to get us there, but most of us with jobs that don’t require constant on-call awareness can trade e-mail for organization and single-focus work. It’s an idea that serves as the title of Julie Morgenstern’s work management book Never Check Email In The Morning, and it’s a fine strategy for leaving the office with the feeling that, even on the most over-booked days, you got at least one real thing done.

If you need to make sure the most important messages from select people come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives. Otherwise, it’s a gradual but rewarding process of training interruptors and coworkers not to expect instantaneous morning response to anything they send in your off-hours.

Gain Awareness, Be Grateful

One smart, simple question on curated Q & A site Quora asked “How do the most successful people start their day?”. The most popular response came from a devotee of Tony Robbins, the self-help guru who pitched the power of mindful first-hour rituals long before we all had little computers next to our beds.

Robbins suggests setting up an “Hour of Power,” “30 Minutes to Thrive,” or at least “Fifteen Minutes to Fulfillment.” Part of it involves light exercise, part of it involves motivational incantations, but the most accessible piece involves 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”

Robbins offers the “Hour of Power” segment of his Ultimate Edge series as a free audio stream (here’s the direct MP3 download). Blogger Mike McGrath also wrote a concise summary of the Hour of Power). You can be sure that at least some of the more driven people you’ve met in your career are working on Robbins’ plan.

Do the Big, Shoulder-Sagging Stuff First

Brian Tracy’s classic time-management book Eat That Frog gets its title from a Mark Twain saying that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad. Gina Trapani explained it well in a video for her Work Smart series). Combine that with the concept of getting one thing done before you wade into email, and you’ve got a day-to-day system in place. Here’s how to force yourself to stick to it:

Choose Your Frog

“Choose your frog, and write it down on a piece of paper that you’ll see when you arrive back at your desk in the morning, Tripani advises.“If you can, gather together the material you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.”

One benefit to tackling that terrible, weighty thing you don’t want to do first thing in the morning is that you get some space from the other people involved in that thing–the people who often make the thing more complicated and frustrating. Without their literal or figurative eyes over your shoulder, the terrible thing often feels less complex, and you can get more done.

Ask Yourself If You’re Doing What You Want to Do

Feeling unfulfilled at work shouldn’t be something you realize months too late, or even years. Consider making an earnest attempt every morning at what the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a graduating class at Stanford to do:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

 

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4 Traits of Incredibly Effective Delegators

*Great Article on Inc.Com*

You know you don’t want to choke your staff with micromanagement minutiae. Here’s how to hold yourself back and get the best out of your employees.

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Before opening my business, I worked for a lot of companies–big and small, corporate and family run, traditional and innovative. I encountered many types of managers, and I learned that those who managed best were those who allowed staff members to think boldly, to move swiftly, and to do so with a game plan rather than a rulebook.

When it came time to open Metal Mafia, I knew that I wanted my company to be a place that valued motivation and maverick thinking over micromanagement. The only way to make that happen was to be willing to delegate, and as a business owner, giving up control sometimes was scary.

To beat back fear in favor of freedom, here’s how to comfortably delegate:

Establish checkpoints.

Employees thrive when they feel they are not only entrusted with, but accountable for, the projects they work on. That said, as business owners, we need to know how projects are advancing. Rather than asking about specific details every step of the way, I check in with staff members at regular intervals, but in a more general way. My staff members are able to report progress instead of feeling as though they are facing an inquisition. This allows me to head off problems before they happen, but in a way that does not compromise the autonomy of the people working for me.

Ask a lot of questions.

One of the most powerful tools in delegating successfully is to ask questions rather than give instructions. If you say you trust your employees but then tell them how you want them to do every little thing, the message is clear that you don’t really trust them after all. Questioning is especially important with new hires, because it sets the tone for how the employee will be able to handle responsibilities going forward. When a member of my staff asks me what to do in a given situation, I often respond by asking what he thinks should be done. Then we can discuss his idea, and he can confidently take the reins in finding a resolution.

Make yourself a resource.

Employees can feel just as stressed or nervous as owners do when they are called upon to lead. I make sure my employees know I am there to bounce ideas off of or to lend another opinion when needed. This allows them to feel that coming to me is not a weakness or a sign of distress but rather another tool in the arsenal for getting the job done well. Asking staff people to be autonomous works only if you give them a strong support system.

 

*To read more on this article, click here.*

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Are Funny People More Successful In Business?

*Great Article on Forbes.Com*

Are Funny People More Successful In Business?

Steve Cody, 57, is co-founder and managing partner of Peppercom, a mid-size communications agency based in New York. He’s also an amateur stand-up comedian, performing frequently at the New York Comedy Club.

“About five years ago I was suffering through an endless business dinner, when the guy next to me said he performed stand-up when not doing IT,” recalls Cody. Intrigued, he decided to take a course and start performing himself. Soon he noticed a happy crossover to his professional life, where he was employing humor more often, listening more intently to clients and becoming better at holding audiences’ attention during presentations.

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4 Mental Tricks to Conquer Fear

*Great article Found on Inc.com*

4 Mental Tricks to Conquer Fear

You can’t be successful if you’re ruled by fear. Here’s how I reprogrammed my brain to be more courageous.

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Fear is the enemy of success. Large rewards only result from taking comparably large risks. If you’re ruled by fear, you’ll never take enough risks and never achieve success you deserve.

If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that the actions that scared me the most at the time–leaving a cushy corporate job to freelance, asking my beautiful wife for a first date, and adopting our two kidshave also paid off the most.

That doesn’t mean these moves aren’t hard at the time, but I’ve managed to retrain my brain to get past the momentary fear and push toward the payoff. Here are four ideas that I’ve made an integral part of my thinking:

1. Value Courage Over Security

Repeated surveys have shown that most people value “security” over just about everything else in their lives. People will put up with jobs that they hate, marriages that make them miserable, and habits that are killing them (think “comfort food”) simply to feel more secure.

To conquer fear, you must consciously dethrone “security” as the thing that you value most in your life and replace it with the active virtue of “courage.” You must decide, once and for all, that it’s more important for you to have the courage to do what you must to succeed, rather than to cling to the things that make you feel safe.

2. Differentiate Between Fear & Prudence

 

*To read more on this article, Click here.*

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4 Ways to Successfully Mix Business & Pleasure

4 Ways to Successfully Mix Business & Pleasure

There’s nothing wrong with pitching business to your friends as long as you follow these unwritten rules of engagement.

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Conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. There’s certainly some truth to that when it comes to romantic endeavors at the workplace. But what about doing business with friends?

It’s easy to create mental barriers between “friends” and “business.”  But there are ways to nurture business relationships with friends–without jeopardizing either. Here are four things to be mindful of to make sure both sides are happy.

1. Seek the win-win.

Put yourself in the shoes of your friend and seek out ideas for how you might be able to solve his or her problems. The stakes don’t have to be particularly high early on; the key is to find a way that you can both benefit from an initial business interaction. A quick win can be something as simple as sharing connections or finding similar challenges that you can problem-solve together. Regardless of the situation, find some way to help each other and keep the conversation alive so you can continue to find situations that benefit both parties in the future.

2. Seek to help first.

It’s always better to give than to receive, especially when dealing with friends in a business context. Start the relationship before you need something by offering assistance, connections, opportunities or recommendations. A great way to initiate the conversation is through two proven questions: How’s business? How are you doing professionally?

3. Don’t be afraid to ask…but be tactful.

 

*To read more on the article, click here.*

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Is Your Leadership Showing?

*Great Article we Found on Inc. Com*

Is Your Leadership Showing?

You’re the CEO of your company. But do you look and act like a leader? Here are five ways to get started.

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Most members of a team know when they’re doing their work well. They often have a particular area of expertise, and they have deadlines and deliverables.

For leaders, it’s a bit different. How do you show that you’re leading? Here are five competencies that good leaders demonstrate. They are related to one another, and each is framed with a question to help you think about opportunities to display leadership.

1. Visibility

We know that leaders need to be seen by followers–from formal presentations and announcements, to a crisis, to simple “managing by walking around.”  The less-obvious occasions, however, are easily overlooked. They can be lost opportunities, or powerful expressions of leadership.

As a leader, when do you feel out of your comfort zone? Maybe it’s when you have to deliver bad or unpopular news, or mediate a conflict between direct reports, or perform a necessary task that you just don’t like. One CEO client told me that he found it hard to celebrate the “small to medium wins” that his team wanted acknowledged. He considered these victories just part of doing business. His solution was to ask his executives to publicize accomplishments up to a certain level, allowing him to save his praise for the really big achievements.

Ask yourself, “How am I visible to others when I don’t want to be?” The answer is not to pretend to like being visible–far from it. Instead, ask yourself this question prior to an uncomfortable event, and use it to help you prepare. Consider some behavioral options, and put yourself in a different mental space. Then you’ll be able to be visible in a more productive, less stressful manner.

2. Preparation

Many leaders are great at preparing the logistics of leadership (the facts and figures in a plan, or the pitch for a presentation). Too many leaders, however, don’t prepare regularly for the deeper daily requirements of leadership. This is a shame, because most leaders face complex challenges, relentless claims on their time, and increasing pressures to deliver on goals over which they don’t have direct control. A bit of regular preparation goes a long way.

Just as athletic activities involve physical, mental, and emotional energies, leadership is a “whole-body practice” and requires preparation of the whole person. The next time you are running through your checklist prior to a leadership event, ask yourself, “How have I prepared my whole self for this?”

*To read the full article, click here!*

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14 Easy Ways to Get Insanely Motivated

**Great article from Inc. Com**

14 Easy Ways to Get Insanely Motivated

These simple strategies can keep you energized both on and off the job.

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Here’s a column that I guarantee will make you more more successful in both your professional and personal lives.

Here are 14 quick strategies to get and keep yourself motivated:

1. Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts while avoiding negative thoughts.

2. Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action.  Get your food and exercise budget in place and follow it like a business plan.

3. Avoid negative people. They drain your energy and waste your time, so hanging with them is like shooting yourself in the foot.

4. Seek out the similarly motivated. Their positive energy will rub off on you and you can imitate their success strategies.

5. Have goals–but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete, lest it become more important than achieving the goal.

6. Act with a higher purpose.  Any activity or action that doesn’t serve your higher goal is wasted effort–and should be avoided.

7. Take responsibility for your own results. If you blame (or credit) luck, fate or divine intervention, you’ll always have an excuse.

8. Stretch past your limits on a daily basis. Walking the old, familiar paths is how you grow old. Stretching makes you grow and evolve.

9. Don’t wait for perfection; do it now! Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life.  Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable.

10. Celebrate your failures. Your most important lessons in life will come from what you don’t achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.

 

**To read more on this article, click here.**

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