In your efforts to build a successful corporate career, you’ll have a couple of tools at your disposal: You’ll have the support of your professional network, the power of the internet, and a society that takes pride in rewarding hard work. You’ll also have the magical boost that happens to most human brains during the earliest hours of the day, the hours that occur right after breakfast. But like all of your other resources, you’ll have to use and deploy these hours wisely. Most brain scans and recording methods show two peaks of energy and cognitive capability during the day. The first and highest happens between the hours of seven and ten AM. The second and slightly smaller productivity peak happens a few hours after lunch time. Make the most of your early peak by keeping these tips in mind.
1. Recognize that this peak won’t be sustained or repeated.
Once the peak hours are over, they’re over. You can still get work done, of course, but this spike in energy and capability won’t reach the same height again until the following day. So don’t put off your most important tasks until later—Schedule them early and knock them out before lunch. Use this precious time slot for the tasks that require the greatest degree of concentration, social energy, or focus.
2. Treat sleep like any other healthy habit.
Too often, people assume that proper sleep is unconnected to meaningful health benefits and they treat it like an indulgence or a luxury. You wouldn’t treat the use of your seatbelt that way. And you would deprive yourself of clean drinking water in the pursuit of your boss’s admiration. You don’t think of these other things as an unnecessary treat, so why not put sleep into the same category? There’s no heroism in coming to work without a shower…and there’s no heroism in showing up without sleep. At night, have the self-discipline to turn the TV and go to bed. You’ll thank yourself later.
3. Start each day with a few stretches.
You don’t have to go on a five-mile run each morning at five AM, but take a few seconds to stretch each leg, each arm, and your back. This can open your circulation and get your body and brain ready for the day ahead.
4. Eat a breakfast of plants and whole grains.
Fruits, lean proteins and whole grains should be your morning staples. Here’s a rule of thumb: before noon, don’t put anything into your mouth if it contains high fructose corn syrup. Stick with toast, oatmeal, or a banana.
5. Imagine yourself at the end of the day.
Picture yourself eight hours from now, getting ready to pack your things and go home. What will you have accomplished by that time? What items will you be wrapping up and marking as “completed”? How will you get from here to there? Picture this vision of your future self before you start making your to-do list.
6. Say hello.
Check in verbally or physically with at least three to five key people in your work environment, even if you have no specific news or instructions to deliver. Just make sure they see your face and hear your voice before you launch into the day.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find it easier to stay on the path to success. In the meantime, visit MyPerfectResume for job search and career building tips that can keep your progress in motion.
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