I’m sure we all want to be effective, engaged, and productive at work. We want to get our work done, and get it done right! But according to authors Allana Akhtar and Shana Lebowitz, we just might be our own worst enemies.

Akhtar and Lebowitz claim that there are mistakes that people often make during the first 10 minutes of their workdays that can make them less effective and productive. Some of those mistakes can have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of their work. And other mistakes can make their bosses perceive them as being ineffective (whether that’s actually true or not).

Luckily, there are things you can do to help ensure that you have a successful workday! Here’s a list of common mistakes, and tips on how to avoid them:

  • Arriving late – Research shows that you if you’re regularly late for work, your boss will view you more negatively. This will be true even if you stay late to make up for your missed time and produce stellar work. To prevent this from happening, try your best to make it to work on time (or even a few minutes early).
  • Failing to say “good morning” to your coworkers – If you tend to rush to your desk in the morning without greeting your coworkers as you pass by, you may make a bad impression. You may be viewed as someone who is detached, unfriendly, or not a “team player.” So try to spend the first couple minutes of each morning greeting your coworkers. It will make a world of difference in how you’re perceived.
  • Responding to every new email in your inbox – When you start work in the morning, do you generally respond to every new email that you’ve received? If so, you run the risk of spending too much of your valuable time on minor issues and not enough on getting your essential work done. Instead of immediately responding to every email, you should scan through them quickly and then only respond to the most important items. The less important emails can wait.
  • Failing to plan out your day – Taking a few minutes in the morning to decide what you’re going to be working on and how you’re going to be spending your day is crucial. It will make you more organized and productive. You’ll be able to focus on the most important items on your “to do” list, and you’ll be prepared for the meetings that are on your schedule. Spending a few minutes on planning can help everything to run more smoothly.
  • Trying to multitask – As you sit down at your desk in the morning, don’t immediately start multitasking. Multitasking is never a good idea. When you multitask, we’re not actually working on multiple things at the same time. You’re just switching back and forth between tasks, instead of focusing on one thing at a time. And this can have negative consequences. Researchers have found that constantly shifting your focus can lead to reduced productivity, a greater number of errors, and increased levels of stress.
  • Scheduling an early morning meeting – People tend to have the most drive and creative energy in the morning. After lunch, that energy tends to drop. So if you schedule an early morning meeting, you’re taking up time that might be better spent working independently on challenging tasks. An early morning meeting is only a good idea if creative, demanding work needs to be done as a group.

Akhtar, A., and Lebowitz, S. (2019, May 14). 12 mistakes you might be making in the first 10 minutes of your workday. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/333723