The day’s first 20 minutes


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets you off on the right track, sets your metabolism in motion, and helps you maintain balance throughout your day.

How you start your workday is really no different. Stuart R. Levine, author of Cut to the Chase, a great new book about creating more efficiency in your work life, suggests that every professional start their day with 20 minutes of preparation for the day ahead.

You can do this the night before if you wish, or at home over a cup of coffee before the kids wake up. But even if you wait until you’re settled in your office for the day, Stuart suggests the following steps before you check your email and voicemail:

Define your top priority for the day – the one you would sacrifice all others to achieve – to help focus your energy.

Update your “to do” list. Allot time for everything you need to accomplish, including time to prepare for meetings and other conversations.

Review your calendar. Determine the purpose of every meeting and appointment. if you don’t have one yet, think of one. If you can’t determine one, cancel.

Consider whom you’ll see in meetings or other events throughout the day. Jot down any issues you need to address with them.

Glance at your schedule for the remainder of the week and month to make sure you’re still focused on the right things.

Now you can check your email and voicemail, and start the day.

Check out the full book here.