What’s the First Thing You Do Each Morning?

January 16, 2012

This post from Seth Godin about the first thing you do when you sit down at the computer really made me think. He writes:

…the first thing you do should be to lay tracks to accomplish your goals, not to hear how others have reacted/responded/insisted to what happened yesterday.

He’s right about my habits: usually the first thing I do in the morning is read emails and tweets, then work on client-related tasks. I’ve always figured it’s best to get what has to be done out of the way first thing. That usually gives me several hours in the afternoon to work on this blog, my upcoming course, pitching publications I want to write for, etc. In other words, my afternoon is my creative time.

But this morning I tried something different. I rolled out of bed and sat at my desk in my pajamas, like I always do. (Mind you, this idea could work even if you work at an office.) But instead of checking things off my to-do list, I pulled up my blog to write a few posts. I spent my first hour putting something out into the world, rather than consuming.

In a way, this approach forces us to put what’s important first. Yes, we have lots of tasks we have to get done during a day, and so in our minds, that’s the most important work. But is that the work that’s going to make a difference in the world? Are those the projects you feel most proud of?

What would happen if you worked on creating first?

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    14 Replies to “What’s the First Thing You Do Each Morning?”

    • Ah! I needed to read this! I want to sit at my computer and write first, do all that other stuff second! But oh how tempting Twitter and Gmail is! I’m going to resolve to be more disciplined on this. No checking emails or any of that stuff until I’ve done at least an hour of writing.

      Yikes! This is going to be tough!

    • Lynn Stewart says:

      I always aim to try and get everything else done before I sit down and do some writing. By that point I have already been sitting at the computer for quite a while, how refreshing to think of doing that first before letting everything else contaminate the brain.

      Such a simple idea, but sometimes it takes someone else to point it out.

      Thank you! 😉

    • I tend to check email, Facebook, and read the New York Times. But Seth is right. I need to spend time creating my task list for the day and do what will help me move forward.

    • I never ever create first, it’s always last, so I’m definitely going to try this tomorrow! Thanks.

    • Love this post. I just wrote about the same exact thing – but with a twist! http://bit.ly/wkyx6g

    • Srinivas says:

      I’ve had the morning routine of writing for 30 minutes for almost a year. I just put some headphones on and jam. I do almost all my writing first thing in the morning. Do it for 30 days straight and you’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

    • drewfbush says:

      i think he’s got it right. i’ve always wanted to start my day with that creative writing exercise where you write stream of consciousness for the first 30-45 minutes of your day.

    • Laurie says:

      GREAT!!!! I’m totally going to try this every time I open my laptop or sit down at my desk at work. Makes sense, but so simple to overlook.

    • I definitely need to try this too! Every morning I get so caught up Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader updates that I think I use all of my peak energy to read instead of write. I also love Srinivas’ idea of writing for 30 minutes 30 days straight. I will have to give that a try too!

    • Linda Gartz says:

      Makes total sense. And actually I’ve been reading this basic advice for more than 30 years. In Alan Lakein’s book “Get Control of your Time and Your Life,” he says: if you have 5 minutes to spare, most people fill it with some small, mundane task. He says NO! Put your A priorities first — and even if you have 5 minutes, do something to move you toward your #1 goal — be it a list, finding and putting aside that article you intended to read — or writing the opening lines for your next blog post. We all know this, but it is so tempting to do the easy things first — right? Checking email is easy. Consuming is easy. Creating is hard. So…we have to do what we know we should do. Actually, I exercise first — because that will NEVER get done if not first thing–and that’s my health. Now I need the discipline to say no to the easy stuff and start with the hard stuff. I’ve done it both ways, and getting lazy is the simple reason for not creating first. Sigh. Will try again. I promise. Tomorrow! First thing.

    • This happens to me all the time – consuming first instead of creating. I definitely need to switch those around and try something different. Thanks for the reminder (and the kick in the pants)!

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