Staying focused on doing the important first things first, especially in a small business work environment that is full of competing demands is, to say the least, challenging. Every morning brings a barrage of new and pressing issues that seemingly all need to be managed right now. The first priority for a successful manager is to step back and reserve the first hour in the morning to prepare for the day and tackle the least favorite task.
Even though most email is unnecessary, it is almost instinctive to check for important messages first thing in the morning. However, wading through the in-box is time consuming and distracting――and many of the emails will be deleted quickly. A more productive approach is to wait at least an hour before opening the in-box and using the time for framing and focusing on the rest of the workday.
The first hour of work can have a profound effect on productivity for the rest of the day. One suggestion for daily success is to set aside time in the morning for personal practices like light exercise, motivational reading and simply being thankful for what has brought success. This daily routine can be extremely powerful.
Another concept that helps get the day started has a mantra― "eat that frog." The idea is taking on and completing the least enjoyable and hardest task for the day first. Getting the worst task―or frog―"eaten" and out of the way clears the rest of the day for more productive work.
An important aspect of being a productive manager is periodically doing a reality check on personal fulfilment. Fulfilment is a combination of job satisfaction, feeling energized about work, advancement opportunities and being able to stay focused on family as much, if not more, than on work. When the reality check keeps coming back personally unfulfilled, it is time to look at what changes are required to regain a sense of fulfilment.
Customer service has become a buzzword in some business settings. The fact is, every organization and employee has a customer service function driving towards management success. Customer service is all about support and within almost any organization one function supports another function and employees support each other. This awareness of internal customer service is what often sets a manager apart as being successful because he or she knows who they support―employees, peers and other organization functions. Remembering this unique view of customer service also needs to be an integral part of a manager's first hour at work.