What kind of work should you do first thing in the morning?

“Your most important work, your highest-value work is the work that is most important to your team’s mission.”

There’s a lot said among productivity pundits about the power of doing our most meaningful or most high-value work first thing in the morning.

The theory being, and it’s backed by research, that we have the most cognitive potential first thing in the morning, compared to later in the day.

Sounds great. It’s backed by research. Let’s do it.

But, what is high-value work?

For some there’s the idea of eating the frog or, doing the toughest, most uncomfortable tasks first, to get them out of the way.

For others, high value work means diving into projects that require high levels of focus, concentration or a state of flow.

These two ideas dominate the productivity landscape.

But, work that is of high-value depends on your role. Most in the productivity scene would say that email or meetings for example, are not high-value activities.

And, they’d say that these are exactly the type of tasks that one should avoid first thing in the morning. If possible, I certainly do.

But…

As a manager or leader, your highest-value work could very well be attending to email, facilitating communication, or rounding up the team for a check-in.

Your most important work, your highest-value work is the work that is most important to your team’s mission.

So, do your most important work first. Your job is to figure out what that is and don’t worry so much about the literature. Just worry about what’s best for your team.


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