4 productivity tips to start the new year off right

Amanda LeVine on January 5, 2016 • 3 minute read

Anyone who knows me knows that I love lists and organization. Actually, love might be an understatement since I have lists for my lists. Seriously.

So it’s no surprise that I’m a junkie for any ideas that help me be more productive, more efficient, and/or more organized. (Hello Container Store!)  And since so many new year’s resolutions revolve around getting organized and focusing on what matters, I thought there’s no better time than the present to compile some of my favorite start-the-day-off-right tips.

The first ten minutes matter the most

HBR says that how you spend the first 10 minutes of your morning can shape the whole rest of the day.  Try starting the day with a planning session in which you think through what you need to accomplish that day to make sure you’re focused on the most critical things.  And don’t just consider the things that are already on your to do list — because let’s be honest — that can become just a list of tasks and you can easily lose sight of what is truly important for you to accomplish that day.  It’s frightening how easy it is to fall into the trap of working on things that aren’t actually important.

Just say no (to email)

There’s a ton of research out there about why checking email first thing in the morning can start off your day on an unproductive note. Email can be a massive distraction from what really matters. Productivity expert Sid Savara argues that checking email is often a symptom of not being clear what you’re supposed to be working on.  In essence, “the real problem is that you don’t see checking email as a low priority activity because you haven’t decided what the high priority activities are.”

Wow. Sid Savara serving up a whole lotta #truth with that one.

Know what needs your attention

Besides email, another thing that can quickly derail my day is trying to keep tabs on all of the metrics I’m responsible for in the business. With so much to keep an eye on — from website traffic to social media traction to user onboarding and activity, it’s really easy for me to feel like I don’t have a good grasp on what’s going on.  So I start my day by getting a scorecard from Databox. (Ok, shameless plug – of course I use Databox!) It’s got the top 5 metrics that I care about, and it’s delivered right to my phone at 7am each morning. This way, instead of starting my day needing to spend time diving into 4 or 5 dashboards, I’ve got a quick preview of what’s going to need my attention that day.

Align your work and your energy level

Another thing that’s proven useful for me is blocking out parts of my day based on the type of work that needs to be done. For me, writing is always easier in the morning when I’m more focused, and I can save less mentally taxing things for later in the afternoon.  By blocking out time for various activities based on my energy levels, I’m able to make better progress in each area.

Those are some of my tips and tricks, but I’d love to hear how you focus on what matters too! Share your ideas in the comments, or tweet to me at @databoxHQ.

About the author
Amanda LeVine When she’s not leading marketing at Databox, you’ll find Amanda hunting for great discounts, doing Zumba, or watching the Bachelor. Driving growth for tech companies is in her blood, having previously held marketing roles at two Boston tech companies that went public.