It's 5 p.m. Do you know where your workday went?
Many people consider the end of the workday as an appropriate time to look back and decide whether it was a highly productive use of eight precious hours or an irredeemable catastrophe.
Maybe this is you. Or, maybe, you know after lunch that everything is going south and that no matter how hard you work in the afternoon, the missteps of the morning will inevitably push this day into the losing column.
Or, maybe, for you, it's at 10:30 a.m., after your third coffee break, when you look at your calendar, check your upcoming appointments, and instantly realize that nothing you could do would salvage what is sure to be a stinker of a day.
If any of these descriptions fit you, be happy. You're lucky.
Some people know their day is going to be a disaster within five minutes of waking up. Actually, make that five seconds. That's because these people fall into the traps outlined by Dana Brownlee in her recent Forbes article, "How Many of These 6 Morning Habit Mistakes Are You Making?"
The five-second morning habit mistake No. 1 is "waking up to a blaring alarm, then turning on the news." This very common form of wake-up ritual "can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate." This is bad. It can also cause you to leap out of bed, which is much, much worse.
The injunction against turning on the news demonstrates a rather negative point of view on the part of the writer. The news you are blaring could be full of heartwarming stories about rescued kittens, tap-dancing Dobermans and other news events demonstrating the many varieties of human kindness.
Yes, it could. If you lived on Mars.
Morning habit mistake No. 2 is "eating unhealthily ... for breakfast" or eating nothing at all. The radical idea here is that your balanced breakfast — balanced between jelly donuts and more jelly donuts — is not the ideal fuel to jump-start your rapidly deteriorating body. What you want to eat is protein — such as a 3-inch-thick cowboy steak. You also will want a heaping helping of a "superfood," such as Brussels sprouts. In fact, forget the steak. If there's anything that will get you up and going, it's the thought that breakfast is going to be Brussels sprouts.
"Checking email first thing in the morning" is bad morning habit No. 3. Naturally, you're curious as to what wonderful opportunities have turned up your inbox overnight, but if you review that matter carefully, you will realize that almost nothing that comes in an email these days is really good news. Unless you consider the message that a Ukrainian teenager has hacked your toaster oven but is only demanding you transfer $750 in bitcoins to their Cayman Islands bank account if you ever want to toast again.
Bottom line: Wait until an appropriate time to open your email. June 2023 seems about right.
Bad morning habits No. 4 and No. 5 suggest that Brownlee wrote her piece in those halcyon days before COVID-19 made shut-ins of us all. No. 4 is spending your morning "racing around to find and pack items," whether your stuff or your kids' stuff. This would be an excellent habit to avoid, if there was any need to find and pack anything for the kids or for yourself. Nobody is going nowhere.
The same concern applies to bad morning habit No. 5, "Not planning your driving route in advance." The idea here is sound. It is crazy-making if you are late and lost for an important meeting, but the fact is that these days, meetings are held on your computer on your kitchen table. Even if the meeting is with the folks in the Pakistan office, your route is simple: Walk out of the bedroom and turn left at the refrigerator. You made it in record time.
"Ignoring family members" is bad morning habit No. 6. Take the time to show family members the side of you that is "light-hearted and affectionate." Or the side that used to be, before you woke up.
Our author approves of "parents who sing a little song to their kids to say good morning." You could also stand in front of the mirror and sing a cheery ditty to yourself.
Does the face in the mirror look rested and ready to face the challenges of the day?
Didn't think so.
It all goes to show: The biggest morning habit mistake of them all is getting out of bed.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: RyanMcGuire at Pixabay