Last Updated Mar 11, 2011 1:39 PM EST
Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project, has the most unusual approach I've come across. He turns off all communications and devotes 90 uninterrupted minutes to the most important task. His colleagues understand he is off limits during this time.
"I launched this practice," he writes on HBR.org, "because I long ago discovered that my energy, my will, and my capacity for intense focus diminish as the day wears on. Anything really challenging that I put off tends not to get done, and it's the most difficult work that tends to generate the greatest enduring value."
The idea of doing your most important work at the time when you have the most energy makes a lot of sense, but I don't think I could work with Tony's method. I'd have this nagging feeling that things were stacking up outside my office, a wobbly pile set to spill in as soon as I opened the door. I can't start the day that way.
I'm a to-do list kind of guy, so my day starts with a prioritization exercise, tackling first the things I can knock off in a couple of minutes -- psychologically I like getting some early wins. How do you start the work day?
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