What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Check email and listen to voicemails? This is the worst way to start the workday. Instead of automatically going into reactive mode and focusing on other people’s priorities, begin your day with a brief planning session about what you need to get done.
The moment you sit down, ask yourself: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved? Thinking this through will help you distinguish truly important tasks from those that only feel urgent. Determine what to focus on, and then break down these tasks into specific actions and goals. Think about how to prioritize your list, and try starting your day with tasks that require the most mental energy.