10 Productivity Mistakes to Avoid During the First 10 Minutes at Work

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Stress

We all have our routines and habits that are especially important when we begin our day. Certain habits and practices can cause a productivity drop from the get-go without you even realizing it. As such, the first 10 minutes of your workday can hold a key for how the rest of your day will go. In that respect, do your best to pay attention to your behavior and productivity mistakes to avoid from the moment it’s time to clock in.

1. Constantly Late for Work

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Clock

Regardless of whether you work from home or in the office, getting there late is bound to leave some negative consequences. Not only will your employer find you unreliable, but your own attitude toward work and your performance is going to suffer. If you want to have a truly productive day, make sure to start your work in time.

2. Not Acknowledging Your Colleagues

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Colleagues

Even if you’re cutting it close, you’ll always have time to at least say “hi” to your colleagues as you walk in and head for your desk. In the case of a home-based job, this may not be an issue, but if you have a work chat where everyone greets each other every morning, you should do the same. If you appear completely unapproachable without even basic social skills, the atmosphere around you will slowly turn toxic and unfriendly, which is far from the productive environment you need to perform at your best.

3. Coffee Is Your First Stop

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Coffee

If you head straight for the kitchen to get your caffeine shot the moment you open your eyes or proceed to grab a cup the second you get to work and start your tasks, chances are your cortisol (stress hormone) levels will increase, making it difficult for you to maintain proper productive behavior. In general, the most beneficial time to have your first cup of coffee is around 10 AM. As the cortisol tends to peak around that time, bringing more caffeine into the mixture then can actually lower it.

4. Answering Email Immediately

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Email

The first 10 minutes of your workday shouldn’t be spent answering every email. Instead, scan them through and prioritize so that you can use these 10 minutes more productively so as to impact your entire day. Otherwise, you may end up in the loop of trying to do everything without the concern for priority, which can obviously turn into an issue later on in the day.

5. Ignoring the Importance of Schedule

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Schedule

Speaking of proper organization, it may seem beneficial to dive into your work the moment you sit in your chair, but that’s not exactly the case. It’s paramount that you check your schedule and/or organize your day in advance at the very start of your workday if you don’t want to miss important meetings, tasks, and/or projects.

6. Focus on the Easy Stuff First

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Easy

Another productivity mistake from the very start of your workday is dealing with the easiest tasks you have first. As the day goes on and you become more tired, you’ll be left with the more important and challenging projects. It’s better to tackle the “difficult” things first, while your productivity is still at its peak.

7. Multitasking

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Multitask

As you sit down to work and maybe feel energetic at the start of your day, you may feel tempted to dive into several different projects and activities at once. However, multitasking affects productivity negatively and can easily burn you out completely before lunch. Always try to focus on one single task at a time, especially early in the morning when you’re just starting your workday.

8. Negative Thoughts Consume You

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Negativity

We all have bad days, but there’s no point in dwelling on negative thoughts, especially when they’re not all that important to your life in general. A bad dream you had, an unpleasant experience at the store, a morning jog, a commute, and similar experiences are not the things that you want to carry with you mentally to work and spend the very start of your workday obsessing over.

9. Scheduling Early Morning Meetings

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Meeting

Some meetings can benefit from your cognitive energy in the morning, but that’s not the case with every type of meeting. For instance, staff meetings really shouldn’t be the first thing on your morning agenda as you arrive to work. This is the time when you should utilize and nurture your productivity for important projects and not discussions about your next team-building activity and other minutiae.

10. Not Enough Light

Productivity Mistakes To Avoid Light

In order to minimize stress and irritability from the very start of your day, you should do what you can to utilize the benefits of the right lighting. Of course, natural light is ideal for productivity, but even adequate artificial lighting will help you concentrate better and generally feel more content. Therefore, make sure not to shut yourself out from proper sources of light as soon as you get to work.  

In an effort to prevent poor decision-making and productivity drop, make sure to consider other potential mistakes you make during the day. 

Tanja Trkulja

Full-time freelance writer, nature and written word enthusiast, avid anime watcher, a Hufflepuff, and a Whovian.