How the world's most productive people spend their morning

Hannah Sims · 07 Nov

What do you do first thing in the morning, as soon as you arrive at work?

To get an idea of how your average Joe Bloggs spends his morning, we ran a quick interview with a variety of people.*

“I like to start my day with a subversive remark to my co-worker, just to lift my mood” – KB, finance

“Sometimes I check the stationery cupboard in case any new exciting pencils have arrived” – MB, medical comms

“Before I enter my password, I move my cursor around the wallpaper, clicking redundantly at bits of the photo” – JD, publishing

“I put on my special nice ‘office shoes’” – RB, government

“Empty the dishwasher to waste time” – SP, marketing

“Morning stand up” (when quizzed whether this was in any way funny) “We have a meeting where we all have to stand up so no one dawdles” (so that’s a no) – JB, designer

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if you could start your day explosively, as if from a starter’s pistol? If you could jump into your place and blur through tasks in a state of euphoric flow. You look up- an hour passed already?! You feel refreshed and ready for more. A meeting comes up, you leap over it and clear it without incurring any penalties. You’re on the homestretch. The crowd are roaring…


The working day isn’t a race. It’s easy to prep for one race. But how do you start your day right every single day at the office? How do you set up a morning routine that isn’t only easy but productive and fun to stick to? How do you stay away from the new highlighter delivery at the stationery cupboard (oooh, orange)?

1. Say hello

Yes, you pre-schooler, you need to remember how to greet your team. Put yourself and everyone else in a positive mood by acknowledging each other.


2. Morning catch up

Have a catch up of what everyone is working on. It helps you plan your day, because you have to present it to others. And it gives your tasks a wider context.

3. Get hooked up on some endorphins

Endolphins are lovely happy sea creatures that appear in cans of tuna. But starting the day in a positive way can really set the tone for all subsequent tasks- a bit like getting out of the right side of the bed. Get the happy rush, even if just from reading a surprise joke in an article.


4. What did the pirate say when he turned 80?

Aye matey.

5. Make a to do-list and tidy up

Start the day organised and in control and you won’t feel like you’re already on the back foot. And you’ll know exactly where your highlighters are.

6. Stand up

If you have a standing desk, it might be good to stand for the first ten minutes of your work. It can make you feel more energetic overall and can also give a greater sense of authority - perfect for navigating a new day.

7. Feel in control – pause, don’t get sucked in to someone’s task

Most things aren’t so urgent that you have to drop your whole morning. Take your coat off. Get your drink. Write your list, and don’t let other people’s drama make your life unnecessarily stressful. Unless there’s like… a big stock market crash again.


8. Don’t check that email

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t go through all your emails at once first thing. You’ll get side-tracked by unimportant tasks. Check there’s nothing urgent and then switch it off.

Some big companies, like French IT company Atos, have put a ban on internal email altogether. It's this trendy new thing to improve work-life balance and boost productivity. The best managers have allotted times in their day for email. Be like that.

Oh, what a beautiful morning. Hope it makes you feel better for the rest of the day. Just don’t break into song.

*Although the anonymity may suggest these people are made up, they actually aren't.


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