Written by Angela Silva
“Rough night, huh?” your coworker asks as you groggily plop down at your desk. It isn’t any secret that you rushed to work today, considering your wrinkled shirt, gallon of caffeine in tow, and your tired, baggy eyes. It happens to all of us at some point. But is rushing into our day unprepared better than taking a few extra minutes to get ourselves together? Those few late minutes could mean a lot more productivity than the punctual yet unconfident, unprepared employee. Assuming you have an understanding employer, watch for these signs that you may not be ready for your day, and take the time to find solutions to make sure that you are your best self as you take on the world.
Your mind is still preoccupied with other matters when you get to work. Quite often we encounter situations outside of our control that take precedence in our minds. It could be a phone call from a family member, a traffic incident, or something you hear on the news. If you don’t take the time to contemplate and resolve these matters, they will interfere with your concentration. Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, or research what you need to research to feel at ease with outside situations so that you can give your focus to your present responsibilities.
You haven’t eaten a good breakfast. You’ve heard it a million times, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Give your body the fuel it needs to get going each morning. Take the time to eat a filling, enjoyable, and nutritious breakfast. Eating a big breakfast and a smaller dinner will also help you sleep better, which will, in turn, help you be prepared for your day.
You haven’t prioritized your tasks. Sometimes there is just so much to do it’s hard to know where to start…so you don’t. You check your email a few times, talk to coworkers, and think about what you’ll have for lunch before diving into the day’s work. To avoid this, have the most important task in mind as you arrive at work. Give yourself a solid hour to work on that task before you check your email (gasp!) or do anything else. You will feel so much more productive and give yourself momentum to accomplish any other smaller tasks that day.
You don’t feel confident. Remember that coworker who so kindly pointed out your wrinkly shirt and tired eyes? Yeah, you already knew about those things, and as if you weren’t embarrassed enough now you know for sure that others notice them too. When you feel your best, you look your best and vice versa. Whatever your style may be, take the time to own it and feel good about yourself. This can include a morning exercise routine, a favorite outfit, a morning meditation session, or whatever it takes to get you in your groove. How you feel about yourself is the key ingredient for success.
You didn’t get a good night’s sleep. This may be the most important part of being ready for your day. Unless you can catch a lucky afternoon nap, sleep deprivation is a surefire way to interfere with your performance. If you aren’t on a regular sleep schedule, start experimenting and find the right amount of sleep to give you the energy you need for the day. Be consistent in your bedtime and wake time. If extenuating circumstances occur that rob you of your precious sleep, try to fit some physical activity in your day to give you a boost, and make sure to get a good night’s sleep the next night!