How you spend your first hour at work is the most important decision you’ll make all day. That’s because that first hour can either boost your confidence and enthusiasm to carry you through the rest of the day, or it can leave you feeling like you’re dragging a huge rock behind you. Indeed, a recent article outlined how Merrill Lynch trains new advisors to employ the 15-85 principle, where 85% of daily results are determined by what happens in the first 15% (or hour) in the office. Here are other examples from my conversations with advisors:
* One advisor starts his day with a stand-up huddle with his three-person team. He does it standing to convey a sense of urgency and to ensure it’s short. Every team member answers three questions: Is there something important that the other team members need to know? What’s the most positive thing that happened yesterday? What’s the most important thing you’re going to get done today?
* A second advisor found that he’s become much more productive since beginning to spend his first two hours from home, responding to client emails and initiating calls. Not only does he avoid the distractions that he would have in the office, but he has to deal with less traffic. I’ve written in the past about the power of short proactive calls to key clients.
* A third advisor takes half an hour first thing to check in with key clients that she hasn’t talked to in the last 60 days. She also has incorporated the idea of “happy birthday calls” – calling clients first thing on their birthday and saying, “I just wanted to be among the first to wish you a happy birthday.” Even if she leaves a client a voicemail, she still receives a terrific response to these calls.
* Another advisor has boosted his enthusiasm and motivation since he began listening to interviews with Olympic medalists on his morning drive to the office.
* Another advisor spends her first five minutes reviewing her five key goals for the current quarter and asks herself what she can do that day to move forward on each of those goals.
There is no right way to start your day. What is important is to develop the habit of starting your day the same way each morning to build momentum in the first hour.