How I Set Myself Up For Success The First 30 Minutes Of My Workday
Morning Rituals For A Grounded & Graceful Workflow
For years I irreverently ignored the sacredness of the morning. Within moments of arriving at the office, I hurled myself into a reactive, distracted state of compulsively responding to emails and Slack messages, bouncing from one project to the next without clear bookends or defined priorities. This was how I began and ended my workday—if it appeared urgent, I was on it.
I admit my own propensity towards rushing, but I also felt the pressure to project a state of “maximized productivity” as if hurriedness was the badge of honor for a successful start-up CEO. Of course, in reality, most successful entrepreneurs and executives pay careful attention to how they manage their mornings; they pause to collect their thoughts and direct their priorities each day.
Following their lead, I have begun to incorporate a bit of self-care and intention into the first 30 minutes of my workday. Instead of rushing into my day, I take time to settle in, set intentions, and review my priorities.
8:00 – 8:03 a.m. | Settle into the studio.
I take these first few moments to tidy up, start the tea kettle, turn on the humidifier, pick a playlist for the day, and light a candle. These small acts welcome a sense of groundedness, allow for a deep breath, and set the foundation for my day. (Also, the office is clean and warm and smells delightful when the rest of our team arrives.)
8:03 – 8:05 a.m. | Set a quick intention.
I keep a small notebook in my desk, where I can quickly jot a one-sentence intention or instruction to myself for the day. “Move freely, with integrity.” Or, “Do one thing at a time.” I don’t dwell too much on it or self-edit. I return to the mantra if I need a bit of grounding later in the day.
8:05 – 8:20 a.m. | Gather info for the day.
These are my favorite 15 minutes of my morning routine. Daily newsletters are my source of choice for news and culture. They are a fantastic, digestible resource for me to be well-briefed for the day ahead. My current reading list includes the NYT Daily Briefing, The Hustle, The Broadsheet, Deez Links, Lean Luxe, and, of course, The Daily Good. Next, I review our current website traffic and comments, newsletter open rates, and any other relevant metrics.
8:20 – 8:30 a.m. | Review weekly and daily priorities.
Each morning, I check in on my weekly and daily priorities to make sure I’m on track, and I reconsider whether what I had planned to work on for the day is still the most strategic use of my time. I finalize my daily priorities, allotting no more than 70 percent of my time to my own projects, priorities, or scheduled meetings. I know at least 30 percent of my time will necessarily be reactive in responding to my team, getting pulled in on new projects, or putting out fires. I find when I build in time for interruptions, I can move through the day gracefully.
8:30 a.m. | Dive into my most important project.
Finally, I am ready to get into the most attention-worthy project of my day, hurrah! Aside from checking my emails and messaging platforms to flag and filter anything critical, I avoid email/calls/meetings/Slack until I have made considerable headway into my first project. In an ideal and wonderful world, there is little that needs my immediate attention, and I can be fully present and creative for that first, hearty project of the day.
Do you have a morning work routine that makes you feel productive and empowered? Share it with us in the comments below!
AmyAnn Cadwell is CEO & Co-Founder of The Good Trade and an angel investor in mission-driven companies.