Home » Our Blog » 3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days
back to the top
3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” Coming from a Founding Father known for rising early with purpose, the quote speaks to the importance of starting your day the right way. Unfortunately for high-powered business leaders, our days tend to evaporate quickly into puffs of emails, meetings and long to-do lists; the maintenance work of leadership has a pesky habit of devouring days and weeks, leaving little time left for “golden” opportunities.

However, in the information age, innovation happens in split-second intervals and the competition moves even faster. Those hours slipping through your fingers are precious. What’s more, recent research has indicated a connection between flow – a term created by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for a state of total immersion in a job – and innovation. The catch? Flow’s main requirement is focused time.

In order to remain ahead of the pack, time for innovation and creativity is crucial, and starting your day off right is the first step to freeing up precious space for flow. Below are three proven techniques you can begin to create productive days.

Wake Early … Seriously

If you’ve ever perused (or consumed) productivity articles, you’ve likely been encouraged to start your day earlier. Assuredly, you’ve read story after story where successful people (individuals like Michelle Obama, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz) laud the early morning hours as critical parts of their day. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve probably vowed to start the habit, set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. … and hit “snooze” until 7:08.

Waking up before the sun is difficult, even for those who call themselves “morning people.” It takes discipline and commitment, but there’s a reason that a good chunk of the most successful people in business all possess this habit: Mornings are gifts. They’re normally quiet and often free from responsibilities; in other words, they’re the perfect time for flow.

Moreover, studies have shown a connection between individuals who wake up early and achieving high success. A Harvard Business Review article found that “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

Think back to any important event in your life — your wedding, a huge test, the birth of your child – for each of these moments: You prepared, often months in advance, making sure you had everything you needed to succeed. Why would you treat your workday any differently?

Waking up early gives you time to thoroughly plan out your day. It provides an uninterrupted stretch for strategizing, concentrating or meditating — you’re in the zone from the get-go.

Focus on a Daily Gratitude

When you sit at your desk first thing, you’re likely bombarded both with the day’s expectations and yesterday’s tasks. It’s easy to simply dive in without really considering which jobs are the most beneficial. Often we toggle between tasks, feeling productive at the onset, but producing unfocused work.

In order to get the most out of your day, it’s important to begin at the most productive place: a place of gratitude. Several happiness psychologists have shown a clear connection between gratitude, productivity and creative problem-solving.

In fact, a study found that participants who kept a weekly gratitude list were “more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.”

Gratitude doesn’t have to be an ordeal; each morning, take one minute to think about one thing you’re grateful for. Focus intensely on that single blessing and actually allow yourself to feel the natural happiness that comes with the thought. This jolt of pleasure allows your brain to function better than when it’s stressed or even neutral. Then, reap the benefits for the rest of your day.

 Find a Winning Ritual

Have you ever noticed how many famous athletes are superstitious?

Michael Jordan reportedly wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform during every game he played for the Chicago Bulls. Tennis superstar Serena Williams has a specific way she ties her shoelaces, bounces the ball and carries her shower sandals onto the court.

These rituals may seem bizarre and unnecessary, but there is a reason so many high-performing athletes succumb to the power of superstitions: They often work. Or more accurately, athletes think that they work, so they work.

Studies have shown a link between routine superstitions and performance. An article published in the journal Psychological Science noted that superstition typically leads to increased self-efficacy, which in turn can lead to improved performance. There is real value in finding a motivational mantra or activity that you can control and practice every day. As a leader in your industry, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly spinning different plates — that at any moment, everything can crash at your feet. However, starting your day with a simple, small ritual you can control actually helps you address the things you can change and accept the things you cannot.

Before you grab that lucky rabbit’s foot, consider making the ritual unassuming and something you would be comfortable doing in public. Perhaps take four deep breaths before you open your email or pour in a specific “lucky” creamer for your coffee each morning; whatever the quirk, use it to build valuable confidence that propels you to where you want to be: in the winner’s circle.


Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot


Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

Employee Experience

What the Employee Experience Is … and Is Not

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

HR departments and C-suites nationwide are abuzz with talk of the “employee experience,” often abbreviated as “EX.” It is the sum of all interactions, good or bad, that an employee has during his or her term of employment with a company.

As defined by author and futurist Jacob Morgan in his new book on the topic, The Employee Experience Advantage, those EX interactions can be divided among three environments that surround the worker:

  • technology
  • workspace
  • culture

The EX concept posits that all three bear equal importance, and that focusing on their long-term design results in an engaged workforce. In turn, productive and happy workers yield loyal customers.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

In addition, Morgan’s research shows that companies that invest in the EX reap rewards over companies that do not, to the tune of:

  • four times higher profits
  • three times higher revenue per employee
  • 40% lower turnover

Sounds like to build a positive employee experience all you have to do is create a utopia of benefits and perks, right?

Wrong.

What the EX Isn’t

Remember, experts define the EX as a totality of experiences that an employee has at his or her place of work, from Day 1 to either resignation, termination or retirement. Providing a positive employee experience doesn’t require satisfying employees’ every whim along the way, or ensuring that every interaction leaves employees feeling euphoric. It just means that the positives in the sum have to outweigh the negatives; you’re simply aiming to become a place where people want to work and want to come to work. After all, everyone has his or her share of negatives while on the clock, and it is unrealistic to think any office to be all unicorns and lollipops, no matter how many nap pods may be on the premises.

The Millennial Factor

With millennials projected to make up at least 50% of the workforce by 2020, employers face a tech-dependent majority that not only is comfortable with using technology in the workplace, but expects to use it (per research conducted by Adobe). Therefore, millennials are primed to be more open to embracing an EX, which relies upon technology as one of its three legs of support.

One way to support this desire for technology companywide is through implementation of an employee self-service platform. Whereas earlier generations may be used to paper-based processes — from tracking hours worked to completing benefits forms — and, therefore, may be hesitant or resistant toward cloud-based, self-service software that accomplishes the same tasks, millennials overwhelming prefer to forego the manual in favor of the technical.

In a recent millennial survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper, 60% of the millennials surveyed said that an employer’s investment into workplace technology was important when considering a job. Self-service software fits in to that category, reducing the burden placed on HR while empowering these young talented workers to take charge of entering and managing their own information.​

But again, let us caution that technology is just one of three critical components organizations must address to build a strong EX. For more information on all three pillars of the EX, download our free infographic, “Building a Strong Employee Experience: What It Is and Why It Matters.

Tags: ,
Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Talent Management

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

Improve Employee Engagement

3 Ways to Immediately Improve Employee Engagement

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

For some employers, having happy employees is a want-to, not a have-to – it isn’t a priority. Making payroll, launching new campaigns and pleasing shareholders seems a more necessary than trying to create engaged, fulfilled employees. But happy, engaged employees are far more important to the success of a company than one might think.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

A Gallup study reported a measurable link between employee engagement and eight common metrics used to measure a business’ success:

  1. Customer Ratings
  2. Profitability
  3. Productivity
  4. Turnover
  5. Safety
  6. Theft Prevention
  7. Attendance
  8. Quality of the final product

 

In fact, companies with engaged employees show 22 % higher profitability and 147 % higher earnings per share than companies without them.

Let’s agree that happy employees are an integral part of your company’s success — so how do we cultivate them?

How to Engage Your Team

While creating an engaged team won’t happen overnight, here are three ways to begin:

1.Equip your employees

Equip your team with tools like engagement surveys to find and improve weak points. Use goal-setting tools that empower employees to reach new heights in their careers.

2. Educate your employees

People love to learn, so host a brown-bag lunch once a week and offer industry-related classes in the office. Give them tools like the Myers-Briggs personality assessment so they can learn how they work best and how to work better with others. Teach corporate culture with high-quality online learning tools that employees can work through at their own pace.

3. Empower your employees

The days of people being cogs in a machine are over—happy, creative individuals make your business better. According to Seth Godin’s Linchpin, today’s employees crave responsibility, opportunity and the authority to make decisions. Create a culture that tells every employee he or she matters. Offer chances for everyone to pitch their big ideas. Give employees control over their own career decisions with employee self-service tools.

Look at your employees as individuals — individuals who want to learn, share their talents, know they’re making a difference and be part of a business they believe in. When your employees are happy, you, your investors and your customers will be, too.

Tags:
Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, What Employees Want

Braeden Fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio: Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Millennial Workplace

4 Truths About the Ideal Millennial Workplace

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

In today’s increasingly technology-heavy workplace, the millennial workforce continues to grow and thrive.

According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial labor force surpassed Generation X as the largest in the workforce in 2015. In fact, Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.

Listen now to our HR Break Room podcast episode, A Hire Purpose: Build a Thriving Culture for Millennials

As they continue to grow and baby boomers increasingly retire, more millennials will assume management positions. In the recent two-part episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, guest Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, spoke about what businesses must do in order to make that transition as seamlessly as possible.

Here are four key takeaways from that conversation.

1. Purpose-driven workplaces draw millennials.

With 90% of millennials wanting to use their skills for good, they are demanding that companies provide purpose and meaning, so that their day-to-day work is not just an 8-to-5 job, but also something that defines them. They want to feel valued in their work and that their work is making a difference, so much so that half of them will take a pay cut to find work that matches their values!

In order to attract and retain top talent from this generation, creating a culture of purpose and meaning is essential to organizational success.

2. A transparent workplace is critical.

 In order to meet the needs of today’s workforce, employers should strive to be clear about what working there is like. The most forward-thinking organizations realize that millennials are going to research company culture, whether through Glassdoor or the grapevine, so recruitment efforts should clearly communicate the benefits and mission. Training and technology are especially popular among millennials, who are seeking purpose-driven opportunities that offer the opportunity to leave an impact.

With so many young people in the workforce, the workplace has become an extension of the classroom. Unlike baby boomers and earlier generations, millennials have to do more than to be good at just one thing and ride that skill for the next 40 years, thanks to the nature of technology and the state of the economy. In order to retain the most ambitious employees, you have to keep teaching them new desirable skills.

3. Millennials operate by a management style all their own.

A Global Workforce report states that 25% of millennials in the workforce will take on management positions. With the same report indicating that 3.6 million baby boomers will retire by the end of this year, it is essential for organizations nationwide to begin adjusting to the needs of the millennial management style.

Millennials are huge fans of collaboration and always looking for new ideas to get things done faster and more efficiently. They prefer co-leadership to more traditional hierarchical structures and are not as interested in doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Even if not every idea is accepted, millennial managers like to give their talent room to try new things … and even room to fail.

This emerging style is going to prove especially important as the next generation of employees, Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010), begin to enter the workforce. They value authenticity and want to work in an organization where their ideas are heard, regardless of job title. This interest in transparency and innovation makes them a more natural fit to be led by millennial managers.

Under New Management: The Rise of Millennial Managers and Generation Z

4. Millennials and Generation Z embrace learning through technology.

Collaboration and transparency are easier to achieve through technology, a key building block to any successful employee experience. Today’s top talent find and apply jobs through the internet, and then learn more about prospective employers the same way. Once they set themselves on a career path, they have become accustomed to learning new skills through YouTube videos or listening to podcasts.

 

Both Millennials and Generation Z have grown up having instant messaging tools, video streams and high-speed internet connections at their fingertips at all times. To create a seamless and attractive employee experience, employers should ensure such tools be incorporated into the workplace, at every stage from onboarding to retirement. Companies that truly understand how to use such tech tools as online learning platforms and surveys will be able to create an organization that is transparent and collaborative, and a culture that is efficient and goal-driven.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials

Caleb Masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

X

Learn more about Paycom

  • Are you a current Paycom Client?

    Yes

    No

    • Talent Acquisition

    • Time & Labor Management

    • Payroll

    • Talent Management

    • HR Management

  • Subscribe me to Paycom's newsletter.

*Required

We promise never to sell, rent or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law. By submitting this form, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.