What Do You Do the First Hour of Your Day?


Lately, when I’m with my women friends over 50, all I see is women feeling overwhelmed, and I don’t think it’s just because I’m feeling a little crazy and over caffeinated.  It’s as if there is a little birdie in my head tweeting (and not digitally) about the importance of work/life balance, causing me to yearn for it BEFORE retirement. So, for the last 30 days, I borrowed the NIKE tagline – Just Do It – as my very own personal mantra, and guess what? It didn’t work, so I’m re-thinking my strategy and examining how I spend my day.

In fact, I’ve been researching how highly accomplished people spend their day. It’s not that I am highly accomplished, but that I want to accomplish more in my day. So, how do they do it? Recently, I picked up an old article in Fast Company, What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day which got me thinking about how I spend my first hour.

The author, Kevin Purdy, interviewed lots of highly accomplished people, and one of the tips is to: “Focus on the human side of work rather than your task list. The author likened the first hour of the day to “homeroom.” Remember that? The first period of the day when you basically just showed up to let the teacher know you were present. Purdy suggests we re-create our very own adult home room every morning. In other words, a time to just check in with oneself.

More Tips:

  • Don’t Check Your Email for the First Hour. Seriously. Stop That!
  • Take that hour of Power – 30 Minutes to Thrive – or at least  Fifteen Minutes to Fulfillment.  “Part of it involves light exercise, part of it involves motivational incantations, but the most accessible piece involves 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”  This creates a new habit where YOU are in control.
Then there is Dr. Oz’s tip – I love this one:  A seven minute morning wake up workout you can even do in your PJ’s.  Check it out.
But for me, I covet designer Donna Karan’s first hour of the day, and by the way,  just give me her entire morning.  Up at 7:00, and either Pilates or yoga with an instructor who comes to her house.  Then, it’s a hot morning bath with essential oils – all that BEFORE breakfast at 9:30.  Oh, she tries her best to squeeze in acupuncture at 1:00 p.m.  If you don’t believe me, check it out: Donna Karan’s Morning Routine
Right now,  I’m feeling overwhelmed just from writing about Donna’s morning.  I think I’ll just start mine with a Bloody Mary or two.  

7 thoughts on “What Do You Do the First Hour of Your Day?

  1. When I was working, it was up @ 5:30 AM (my time for our only bathroom). Then on to my makeup, teeth and hopefully my first cup of coffee. Not my husband or 4 kids were allowed to speak to me until I got my first cup of java into my body. Dress, get in car and have my first cigarette of the day and then a 1 hr drive to work (this was my time to relax and listen to my music). Now that I am retired, I get up and try to balance myself as I get out of bed. Then on to the kitchen to make my coffee and sit down to read the morning paper. Then it is on to my favorite time of the day to try and plan what my hubby and I will do today. This is called the great 40/40 life. But, you have to work those 40 years for 40 hrs a week, hold a second job and raise 4 kids, own every animal under the sun and be with my husband. Everyone in our family knows how to do all the work that comes with a happy home life!

  2. Tho I like your ending solution best (bloody mary’s) I think that would lead me to check out the whole morning. I’m finding a slow move into the day is good for me–time to contemplate, watch the birds and let my mind wander as it will while I drink a cuppa green tea and then coffee. Because I’m retired I can sometimes spend on hour or so doing this but usually it is confined to 45 minutes and then I get on with my day with out feeling pressurized even when I have lots of stuff i have to, need to do.

  3. For the past two months I’ve been participating in a creativity expanding workshop which demands that we start the day with making art in a right-brain, less than conscious way. That’s caused me to move my physical workout (with Wii+) to second and breakfast to third. I am glad to report that I now squeeze in an hour in my crafts studio between #1 and #2, pushing breakfast to about ten o’clock. I confess that I am retired and have this luxury of time, however, I can’t over-emphasize how much happier and more creative I am all day as a result of this new routine. Less technology, less linear list, more rising from within, in all senses of the word. Go for it!

  4. I start off with prayer, meditation, yoga and drinking warm water with lemon. During the warm months of the year it does seem as if there’s not enough hours in the day but during the winter months I don’t feel as rushed.

    While reading in your article “my women friends over 50, all I see is women feeling overwhelmed” (which sounds like me, LOL!) made me think about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book: Lean In, and I wondered how do women over 50 Lean In? Or do you think it only includes women over 50? Thanks a bunch!!!

  5. I find when I write my 500 words before I check out email I’m 100% better during my day. My head is clear before it starts getting cluttered or concerned. If I woke with an overcast, describing it in 500 gives me a sense of empowerment over the situation, even if its only a sense. I like to walk and listen to uplifting information, get out in nature, let life’s miracles lift my little idiosyncratic judgment about how it should be or shouldn’t be. I like the homeroom idea of just checking in. And Twyla Tharp had a whole theory about what she needed to be creative, but that involved hours of physical activity to wake the body up. Really. After hours of that who’d have energy to live the rest of the day? Can’t wait to spend a few mornings with you pondering this!

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