Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

First thing you do in the morning


Yesterday night I was tinkering around my home office to get it ready for this week. If you’ve followed me long enough, you’d know I like to play around my home office and optimize it from time to time. I went to bed around midnight and today I woke up quite late for my standards, at around 7 AM and after a morning routine I appeared in my home office to start working. I didn’t fire up my email client nor did I open my news reader. I started my day with a weekly review and now I’m cranking my tasks for the day. I didn’t open my email inbox until noon. Why?

First thing you do in the morning

Do you respond or do you create?

When you work with more people than just yourself (and it doesn’t matter if you’re running a company like me or work in a company) it’s very easy to find yourself in a “response-only mode” - meaning, you spend your entire day responding to email, phone calls… basically you respond to wishes and desires of everyone else, except the ones of yourself. That’s why I try not to reply to emails or phone calls before noon. In the morning it’s my “creation-only mode” - I focus on what I need to do - on my creative mind. Later I’m available to everyone who needs me :-)

Seth Godin reassured me with his fantastic blog post where he wrote:

“If you’re an artist, a leader or someone seeking to make a difference, the first thing you do should be to lay tracks to accomplish your goals, not to hear how others have reacted/responded/insisted to what happened yesterday.”

You’ll know what happened yesterday anyway - you’ll know soon enough - when you start your morning routine focus on creating - on what you can bring to the table and what you can create to inspire and move others.

I see so many people trapped in response-only mode that after a full week they simply don’t know where the time has gone. I was like this several times in the recent months, that’s why I made the rule to make sure I create first, respond second.

Create first, respond second.

Don’t get me wrong, your response matters. I’m leading a team of 12 people now (we’ve just grown!) and they all need my reaction and I have to make sure I respond quickly to them. But if I don’t create time for myself, schedule time for my creative self, we’ll not move forward at the pace I’d like us to move. That’s why it’s critical for me to schedule my creative time.

The way you start your day makes all the difference

When you start the day with a creative mind set, your mind works, your ideas show up…. and by noon you feel you’ve accomplished something… and later in the day you’ll have the time to also talk about your ideas with other folks from your team and thanks to this feedback you’ll improve your original thoughts. And the bottom line is simple - you’ll feel better, productive… and you’ll know you’ve gotten some stuff done today. Make sure to start your day (and week) right!

How do you start your day? How do you plan your week?

Monday, February 27, 2012 /first-thing-you-do-in-the-morning/