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7 Things I Do Before I Start My Workday To Save At Least An Hour Every Day

This simple plan only takes about 20 minutes but it saves me at least 2x that each workday.  It also makes me so much more productive. I am a systems person. It's part of my personality type. I like systems, I like to develop systems, but even if you're not a systems person, these are seven things that you can do.

You can put them on a card. I actually have them in my planner. I open up to that page in my planner and I go through them one by one. You can put them on an index card, you can put them on a sticky note and tape them to your monitor. These are things that help my productivity throughout the day. They’re really easy and you might tweak these a little bit for your own use. You might decide not to do all of them, but these are my seven.


1. Check-in on my physical needs

The first thing I do is check in with my physical needs. Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Do I have my water? 

I have a 1.5 liter bottle of water that I fill up the night before and I bring it up to bed with me so I can start hydrating first thing in the morning. I use it to take my medication at night. And then I drink that throughout the day. My goal is to drink one of these every day. Do I get there every day? I don't. Do I try my best? Yes. I've been getting a lot better though. If I don't have a lot left at dinner time, I’ll drink the rest of it. And then before I go upstairs, I'll refill it.

 Do I need to go to the bathroom? How many times are you concentrating on something and you really have to pee?  Make sure to do it right before you sit down. Are you sore? Are you stuffy? Are your allergies bothering you?

Do a check and ask yourself… am I okay? Is there anything I need to do so that I can really focus on my work day? It sounds like the silliest thing, but how often do you do that? How often do you get to your desk and your allergies are bothering you, or you have a headache, or an itch or your hands are dry.

Do a check and make sure that you're okay so that you can actually focus on working. 

2. Turn off all but the essential notifications

The second thing I do is I turn off all but my central notifications. That's my computer, my phone. I don't want things beeping, buzzing, making noise, whatever.  You might also need to turn off notifications on other devices in the room that aren't necessarily yours.

3. Clear off my desk

The third thing that you want to do is clear off your desk. This is something you can do the night before as part of your end of workday routine, or this can be part of your morning routine.

I clear off my desk. I take off anything that I don't need. I put all the papers away that I'm not going to use. I like starting the day with a clean desk. 

Right now I have an organizer on the left side of my desk because I'm left-handed. I have my computer, my coffee, and my water, my mouse. I have a big white notebook that I use. I've got various pens and pencils and things, but I also have like a little drawer that I can stick those in.

I have some FriXion pens, and I love them! They’re pens, but they're erasable. I use these in my planner and they are fantastic. I use them when I'm writing cards. Don't you hate that when you buy a $7 card and you mess up writing something? FriXion pens solve that problem.

So, I clear off my desk and I try to keep my desk clear. Over the course of the day, there's going to be lots of other stuff that gets put on my desk. At the end of the day or first thing in the morning, I make sure I clean that off. It helps, it's like clearing your head.

4. Close all my tabs

The fourth thing I do is close all my browser tabs. A couple of things that have really helped me with that. One is pinning important items. You can pin your tabs. When you pin a tab and then close the browser, when you reopen it, those pinned tabs come back up.

If you want to do that in Chrome, all you do is right-click on the tab. And one of the options is “pin.” The cool thing is the tab becomes really tiny, but you just see the favicon and the pinned tab will move all the way over to the left. 

The other thing I do is create a shortcuts folder on my bookmarks bar. They are shortcuts directly to things that I want to check. For example, I used to go to Facebook and get distracted by the stuff in my feed. I’d get caught up and then 15 minutes later, I’d remember that I came to check the ad manager.

Now I have a shortcut directly to my ads manager. I also have one directly to my Facebook notifications. Instead of going in and starting to get lost in the feed, I just go straight to my notifications. You can go to your notifications, go show all. And it brings up a web page. https://www.facebook.com/notifications You can favorite that page. 

If you have sites where you get lost, create shortcuts for them. If there is something that I really need, I create a shortcut for it. If you want to look at a recipe, for instance,  then go pin it, print it out, or bookmark it. You don't have to have all the things open all the time. That really helps clear my head. It’s amazing.

5. Put on my diffuser

The fifth thing I do is put my diffuser on. I'm a big fan of essential oils. They help my allergies. They help my anxiety. They help just calm me down. 

I never had issues with anxiety until I had my son. Then it's like a mom thing. Your moms understands. Sometimes I just need a little boost to my motivation, sometimes, I’m a little bit tired. So I’ll put something in the diffuser. (If you'd like to know more about diffusers or anything else, head to AskKristin.net. You can ask your questions there.)

6. Meditate/Pray

The sixth thing I do is take a few minutes to either meditate or pray. I know not all of you are into that, but you could just deep breathe for a couple of seconds. It helps me recenter before I turn my attention to work. 

This morning was a crazy morning. Jeff has some hives on his foot. He's been itchy and hasn't slept in two days. He went to the telemedicine doctor, and the doctor didn't listen to anything he said.  It was a crazy hectic morning. As I was going through my morning routine, I hit that point and I said, okay, I'm just going to take a deep breath. 

When you breathe in and then release the breath, you’ll feel your shoulders go down and release all the tension in your body.

At that point, I might meditate a little bit. I love doing gratitude meditation where I just talk about the things that I'm grateful for. When I do that, to me, it's the same thing as praying. I'm thanking God for all the goodness of my life so for me, it's kind of the same thing.  I'm sending up what I need for today, the kind of guidance that I need, I'm being grateful for what I have, the blessings that we have in our life, and our business and all the things. 

It doesn't have to be a time-consuming event. I think a lot of people think they don't have time for that in the morning. It can be a minute. Brendon Burchard says to take 10 deep breaths. That's all it has to be. It doesn't have to be crazy.

7. Spend 10 minutes with my planner 

The last thing I do is spend 10 minutes in my planner. I've used all sorts of planners. I'm checking out a new planner this quarter. I've used the Passion Planner. Now I'm trying out the Full Focus Planner this quarter.  I think I've said that sometimes I use Brendon Burchard's planner and sometimes I use the Passion Planner. This planner might have the best of both of those.  

The thing I like about the Full Focus Planner that I thought was missing in the Passion Planner is that this really ties your goals, annually, quarterly, weekly, and daily. It brings those all in together and that's how I plan. I felt that was missing from the other two. There are goals and highlights, but it's not the process. 

I keep an electronic calendar and even though I use an electronic calendar, I write my schedule down in my planner because when you physically write things down, it cements them in your brain. 

So, I cement it in my brain by writing it down. I look to see what I've got going on today. This is the flow of my day. I write down my big three items I have to get done. I always have three tasks I write down. These are the three things I need to get done. 

Today, one of them is recording two podcast episodes. Then I've got two other things I have to work on today for school. I have a new class starting and then I have a whole bunch of other tasks that I want to get to. If I don't get to all of those tasks today, some of those will become my big three tomorrow. It's the stuff that I need to get done. 

It's nice because I have this daily overview and then I don't have to have my calendar open all day. Right now, I have Slack buzzing at me all day and I just kind of have it right here. It's another reason I like having it on the desk because there's less stuff that can possibly distract me during the day. 

This whole routine takes me about 20 minutes to do. Most of that time is actually sitting with my planner for the day. That 20 minutes will save you so much time just because you've prepared yourself to sit at your desk and be productive.

Links mentioned


FriXion Pens

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Full Focus Planner – Get $10 off your first order

High Performance Planner

​Disclosure: We professionally create this podcast that receives compensation from companies that we talk about. So you must assume that any link you click is an affiliate link. Kristin and Ingram Digital Media only have affiliate relationships with companies that we believe in wholeheartedly. We are independently owned, and all of our opinions are​ our own.


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