Home » Our Blog » 3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days
back to the top
3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” Coming from a Founding Father known for rising early with purpose, the quote speaks to the importance of starting your day the right way. Unfortunately for high-powered business leaders, our days tend to evaporate quickly into puffs of emails, meetings and long to-do lists; the maintenance work of leadership has a pesky habit of devouring days and weeks, leaving little time left for “golden” opportunities.

However, in the information age, innovation happens in split-second intervals and the competition moves even faster. Those hours slipping through your fingers are precious. What’s more, recent research has indicated a connection between flow – a term created by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for a state of total immersion in a job – and innovation. The catch? Flow’s main requirement is focused time.

In order to remain ahead of the pack, time for innovation and creativity is crucial, and starting your day off right is the first step to freeing up precious space for flow. Below are three proven techniques you can begin to create productive days.

Wake Early … Seriously

If you’ve ever perused (or consumed) productivity articles, you’ve likely been encouraged to start your day earlier. Assuredly, you’ve read story after story where successful people (individuals like Michelle Obama, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz) laud the early morning hours as critical parts of their day. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve probably vowed to start the habit, set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. … and hit “snooze” until 7:08.

Waking up before the sun is difficult, even for those who call themselves “morning people.” It takes discipline and commitment, but there’s a reason that a good chunk of the most successful people in business all possess this habit: Mornings are gifts. They’re normally quiet and often free from responsibilities; in other words, they’re the perfect time for flow.

Moreover, studies have shown a connection between individuals who wake up early and achieving high success. A Harvard Business Review article found that “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

Think back to any important event in your life — your wedding, a huge test, the birth of your child – for each of these moments: You prepared, often months in advance, making sure you had everything you needed to succeed. Why would you treat your workday any differently?

Waking up early gives you time to thoroughly plan out your day. It provides an uninterrupted stretch for strategizing, concentrating or meditating — you’re in the zone from the get-go.

Focus on a Daily Gratitude

When you sit at your desk first thing, you’re likely bombarded both with the day’s expectations and yesterday’s tasks. It’s easy to simply dive in without really considering which jobs are the most beneficial. Often we toggle between tasks, feeling productive at the onset, but producing unfocused work.

In order to get the most out of your day, it’s important to begin at the most productive place: a place of gratitude. Several happiness psychologists have shown a clear connection between gratitude, productivity and creative problem-solving.

In fact, a study found that participants who kept a weekly gratitude list were “more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.”

Gratitude doesn’t have to be an ordeal; each morning, take one minute to think about one thing you’re grateful for. Focus intensely on that single blessing and actually allow yourself to feel the natural happiness that comes with the thought. This jolt of pleasure allows your brain to function better than when it’s stressed or even neutral. Then, reap the benefits for the rest of your day.

 Find a Winning Ritual

Have you ever noticed how many famous athletes are superstitious?

Michael Jordan reportedly wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform during every game he played for the Chicago Bulls. Tennis superstar Serena Williams has a specific way she ties her shoelaces, bounces the ball and carries her shower sandals onto the court.

These rituals may seem bizarre and unnecessary, but there is a reason so many high-performing athletes succumb to the power of superstitions: They often work. Or more accurately, athletes think that they work, so they work.

Studies have shown a link between routine superstitions and performance. An article published in the journal Psychological Science noted that superstition typically leads to increased self-efficacy, which in turn can lead to improved performance. There is real value in finding a motivational mantra or activity that you can control and practice every day. As a leader in your industry, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly spinning different plates — that at any moment, everything can crash at your feet. However, starting your day with a simple, small ritual you can control actually helps you address the things you can change and accept the things you cannot.

Before you grab that lucky rabbit’s foot, consider making the ritual unassuming and something you would be comfortable doing in public. Perhaps take four deep breaths before you open your email or pour in a specific “lucky” creamer for your coffee each morning; whatever the quirk, use it to build valuable confidence that propels you to where you want to be: in the winner’s circle.


Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot


Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

Just 2 Steps to Being More Productive

You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

Productivity often is touted as the Holy Grail of today’s workforce. Countless books and apps are packed to the brim with tips promising to make you more efficient, while today’s managers scour for — and promote — candidates with past episodes of grand productivity.

You would think that with such pushes, a steady increase in individual and workplace productivity would exist. You would be wrong.

The Myth of Productivity

In a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the productivity change between 2007 and 2016 in the nonfarm U.S. business sector increased 1.1 percent, an all-time low since the 1940s. Scholars give a myriad of reasons for this dip, ranging from a decrease in innovation to repercussions from the Great Recession; however, this stark stat likely makes even the most motivated worker feel defeated

But the thing about leaders is they have something others lack: foresight. Leaders see the bigger picture. They believe that their actions actually matter, and in fact, that those actions can inspire others.

You can’t control the changes that come with working in a knowledge economy, but you can control what you do each day. Below are two proactive ways to incite productivity in your daily life.

  1. Prioritize Time

Think back to a time when you felt like you were crushing it.

Perhaps you were working on a report or managing a team, and you were completely engrossed in your task. Now think through your typical day: Likely, there are moments of productivity … and then you get a text or an email or a meeting request, perhaps all at the same time. Information is everywhere; it clouds our lives. A 2015 Deloitte study noted that in a single day, people exchange more than 100 billion emails, yet only one in seven of those emails could be qualified as extremely important.

Although technology has made space for innovation and ease, it also has been a metaphorical shock to the U.S. workforce’s system. Indeed, many experts who study time management have changed the ubiquitous phrase of “multitasking” to the more apt “rapid toggling” to communicate the futile effort of doing multiple things at once, even when technology promises we can.

Studies have shown that if you want to do deep work that puts you in a state of flow and ahead of your competitors, then you must prioritize uninterrupted, focused time. In fact, a recent article in Harvard Business Review outlined the importance of restorative silence for busy individuals: “Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work and lead.”

You may ask (while frantically scanning your bursting inbox), “How do I do this?”

Start by identifying a time during your day when your presence isn’t really required. Perhaps you need to attend that recurring weekly meeting only every other week, or maybe you can send an employee in your stead. Assess your daily rituals — maybe that morning stroll around the office where you chat with everyone could happen later in the afternoon so your mornings are free from distraction. Is your office door always open? See what happens if you shut it for 30 minutes. Chances are no one will notice that time you’ve stolen away for yourself, and you’ll have space to focus on what really matters.

  1. Prioritize Values

There is a reason that successful companies put such stock in their values and vision: Clarity makes space for progress. In 2015, General Electric executive took time to verbalize the company’s values, after feeling the business was becoming too complex. Known as “the GE Beliefs,” those values acted as a road map for them to plot out and execute their top priorities.

A Deloitte University Press article noted, “The GE Beliefs play a large role in leadership development and are also used to change how GE recruits, how it manages and leads and how its people are evaluated and developed.”

GE is just one example of many companies putting emphasis on clearly articulating core values in order to spur output. And if successful companies are doing so, why wouldn’t you?

According to Inc. 500 entrepreneur Kevin Daum, “Much like company core values, your personal core values are there to guide behavior and choice.”

How do you craft a list of personal values? Glance over your job description, reassess your passions and future goals, and then put pen to paper. The list of values doesn’t have to be long, but it must be clear. To spur ideas, look at examples from companies like Zappos and Facebook.

Once you have your values nailed down, certain tasks that have been consuming your time likely will lose their urgency. For example, if innovation is part of your purpose, but the last time you researched new advances in your field was six months ago, then it’s time to reassess either your values or how you’re spending your time.

Productivity can be tricky to quantify, but creating a conducive environment is a great place to start. Making crucial space and aligning your daily tasks to your vision are two steps in the right direction.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership, Talent Management


Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

What do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

HR industry experts have devoted a lot of time and research into demystifying millennial employees, only to discover that this younger generation has more in common with mature, seasoned employees than once thought.

This is especially true when it comes to the desire for day-one productivity. The C-suite values new hires who can become contributors faster; millennial employees, who were born between 1981 and 2000, crave the opportunity to do just that.

So, the goal they share is desire to be immediately productive – to be a valued contributor as soon as they walk through the front door.

Getting an early start

Growing up when technological advances made instant gratification a way of life, millennials have come to expect it in almost every aspect of their lives, including work. Young employees want to feel purposeful in their jobs, and nothing meets that need quite like getting the chance to work on the first day, instead of filling out form after form and memorizing the alarm code.

One way to get there is by designing an onboarding process that gives new hires the ability to complete onboarding tasks efficiently, either on or before day one. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your plan:

  • “Preboard” new hires.

    Allow them to complete new-hire paperwork and train electronically, via an employee self-service portal. They can get the groundwork done before they even start in order to hit the ground running on their first day.

  • Assign goals and expand training.

    According to Gallup, half of employees don’t understand what’s expected of them at work. To prevent this type of uncertainty from affecting a new hire’s productivity, include training on his or her individual role, and what his or her job looks like when done well.

  • Introduce your culture.

    Understanding what your company values can help new hires feel confident about making smart decisions. Not only can this boost early productivity, but it can help build long-term engagement, too.

Just a few tweaks to the traditional onboarding process can help new hires devote more time and attention to the activities that will help them become a valued contributor sooner than later. And that’s something both your C-suite and millennial new hires will love.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, Leadership, Pre-Employment, Talent Management


Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

Oregon State Retirement Plan

Oregon Creates Landmark State Retirement Plan

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Oregon Creates Landmark State Retirement Plan

This year, the state of Oregon will launch a landmark, statewide retirement program: OregonSaves. This program requires private employers to automatically enroll employees in retirement accounts. The goal is to benefit almost 1 million Oregonians who currently lack access to employer-sponsored retirement programs.

OregonSaves has been in the works for the last few years and will officially kick off in July 2017 with a volunteer pilot phase. Full program implementation is scheduled to begin in November 2017, starting with employers who have 100 or more employees.

What This Means for Oregon Employers

Employers that do not offer retirement plans are required to inform employees about the program and automatically enroll them. Additionally, they will have to:

  • Provide employee data to the state to allow the state to set up accounts for the employee.
  • Setup payroll deductions for employees participating in OregonSaves.
  • Track employee decisions as to contribution levels or to opt out.

Employers who already provide retirement options do not have to offer OregonSaves. Those employers will complete a simple certification process.

What’s Next?

Oregon is the first state to offer a program of this nature. California and Illinois likely will launch similar programs by 2019. It is important to note, however, that there are currently bills pending in the federal legislature to overturn rules that make it easier for states to create such plans. If these bills pass, state programs could be stalled. Oregon does plan to move forward with its retirement plan regardless of how the legislature acts, so employers should be prepared. Paycom’s Benefits Administration Suite can help employers accurately track the data they will be required to transmit to OregonSaves.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Alyssa Looney

by Alyssa Looney


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Alyssa Looney monitors laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the Paycom software is up to date, specifically regarding immigration law and state law developments in the Western United States. She holds a JD and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys cooking, being active, playing with her puppy and exploring Oklahoma City.

Subscribe to Paycom's blog
X

Learn more about Paycom

  • Are you a current Paycom Client?

    Yes

    No

    • Talent Acquisition

    • Time & Labor Management

    • Payroll

    • Talent Management

    • HR Management

  • Subscribe me to Paycom's newsletter.

*Required

We promise never to sell, rent or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law. By submitting this form, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.