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Energised, motivated and purposeful are just a few of the emotions you may experience after a productive day’s work. It’s empowering to realise that you can reclaim control of how your work day pans out by avoiding a variety of common pitfalls that prevent you from achieving top results at the workplace.

Here are 9 mistakes most of us are guilty of committing in our first 30 minutes at work and alternatives to experiment with as we strive to get the most out of our days.

  • Avoiding your co-workers Whether you’re a morning person or not, greeting your co-workers emits positive vibes and sets the right tone for subsequent dealings with them. Even if you’re not one for a full blown conversation in the early hours, a simple “good morning” goes a long way in terms of establishing camaraderie and easing the way for future conversations.

  • Not getting in on time Consistently starting work on time tells your co-workers and management that you’re committed to your job and ready to take on each day’s unique challenges. Studies have shown that employees who are repeatedly late for work score lower points in performance reviews and are viewed as being less conscientious. As you can see, it’s well worth the effort to show up on time and get the show on the road.

  • Doing the easiest tasks first Although it’s tempting to work on easy duties in the early hours, getting rid of the most tedious tasks as soon as the days starts, is key to higher productivity levels. Doing this frees up the rest of your time for the more enjoyable and creative tasks that are part of your role.

  • Answering all your emails By all means, tackle the most urgent emails as soon as you power-up your inbox, but reserve some time later in the day to respond to the less pressing ones. Although answering emails feels like productive work, don’t let it swallow up all of your time. Ideally, try to dedicate a specific time each day to email management. This will free up the rest of your time to fulfil other duties.

  • Not preparing a to-do list The power of the humble to-do list can’t be underestimated! Reserve some of your early morning moments to reflect on what needs to be accomplished and jot down action points. This gives your day focus and structure whilst reducing forgetfulness. Also, did I mention that striking completed tasks off the list feels really good? Get jotting!

  • Multitasking This ties in nicely with preparing a to-do list. By following action points, you’re giving 100% to each task and completing it to high standards. When we multitask, we’re doing more than one thing at the same time, opening ourselves up to errors, wasted time and double work.

  • Dwelling on negative thoughts Admittedly, this is a tough one, as it involves compartmentalising thoughts and emotions whilst at work. To get the most out of our day’s work, it’s crucial to focus on the task at hand whilst reserving time later in the day to tackle about personal concerns.

  • Scheduling meetings If you have any say over when meetings are scheduled, try setting them up during the low-energy portion of the day such as the mid-afternoon. Scheduling morning meetings eats into the high-energy morning hours, which should be devoted to more mentally or physically challenging tasks.

  • Drinking coffee straightaway Our bodies are wonderfully complex machines and our energy regulating hormone, cortisol, naturally peaks between 8am and 9am. Rather than having a coffee as soon as you get to the office, postpone it till after 9.30am. By this time, cortisol production begins to dwindle, so a timely caffeine shot will be well in order. Why not consider ditching the coffee for water for an even better energy and hydration boost?

Read more:

How To Get Motivated at Work After a Holiday

3 Powerful Tips for Your First Week on the Job

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