6 Simple Things Fortune 500 Leaders are Doing Each Morning for Improved Productivity

We look to our leaders for insight and motivation. It’s no surprise, then, that we look to managers and leaders of Fortune 500 companies to understand how they prepare for their day for maximum productivity and efficiency

Applying any of these morning activities into your daily routine as a manager or into your company workflow as a principle of practice can improve overall company morale, employee performance, and productivity levels. 

Here are 6 things that Fortune 500 CEOs and company managers are doing in the morning to inspire action and avoid productivity challenges in the workplace:

1. The Famed Early Morning Wake-Up

The early bird gets the worm, right? Most of us know or have heard of the benefits of waking up early for productivity. So why is it that we don’t apply it?

Waking up earlier grants managers, leaders, and even employees more time free from distractions, which provides an opportunity for focusing on tasks important to them. This time could be a saving grace from getting a project done or brainstorming performance improvements. 

Maximizing this early morning window will work out in the long term. What the window looks like of course depends on personal and professional schedules. 

When it comes to productivity, you’ll want to get up early in order to tackle important things on your plate. But you may have to get up earlier to ensure that you get me-time, like time for reflection, breakfast, and exercise.  

While you can’t enforce a wake-up call with your employees, consider talking about morning routines and setting intentions around morning routines with your employees to encourage this behavior. Talking about early morning routines might encourage your employees to do so and it could, in turn, improve productivity in the workplace. 

Whenever you’re adding in productivity-boosting activities, consider the ways that you can track these metrics in your workplace. You can notice when your employees clock in early or if they’re responding to emails earlier than normal. Pay attention to when they start waking up early so that you can show them these improved metrics in your employee monitoring data. 

2. Getting in Moderate Exercise

Exercise is essential for any busy professional. Moderate, regular exercise that gets your heart rate up boosts your mood, controls your weight, and provides much-needed energy to the body. By exercising moderately in the morning, you can improve your focus, decision-making skills, your willingness to work hard and get things done and send mood-boosting hormones throughout your workday. 

All this is combined with the fact that we sit an average of 9.3 hours a day. Professionals in tech-related jobs or office positions don’t get much action, other than stress, and often neglect exercise once the workday ends. 

Prioritizing exercises like walking, cycling, swimming, and other healthy activities for that feel-good morning energy.  Throughout the day, consider adding more standing activities. The Pomodoro technique is one productivity-boosting technique that can help here and a standing desk!

Encouraging your employees to exercise can work wonders for productivity. Perhaps you have a 30-day walking plan where each employee walks a certain distance in the span of 30 days. Your employees could grab some extra PTO or 1 hour of free time a week depending on the amount of exercise conducted. 

An engaged employee will be more inclined to workout as a way to feel better throughout their day. By encouraging employees to work out, you’re encouraging their health and well-being and creating a positive environment. Not only that, but you’ll reap the mood-boosting and efficiency benefits of exercising through increased productivity.

Same as when waking up early, consider tracking when your employees start their exercise routine or challenge, especially as a group, to show them the considerable gains in productivity that they achieved. 

Reward them for this behavior so that they don’t feel that their workouts were only for productivity (because it’s not!). Exercising can improve workplace culture and reduce employee burnout!

3. Grabbing a Bite to Eat

Just like exercising every morning, eating breakfast is extremely important for workplace productivity. However, also like exercising, most people ignore this advice. 

Breakfast is believed to be one of the most important meals of the day because it kick-starts your metabolism and gives your body a chance to start using its energy fuels. You don’t have to eat a big breakfast, but something small like oatmeal or fruit will do the trick. 

And don’t just take our word for it. 70% of Fortune 500 leaders that were surveyed said that they make time for breakfast as part of their daily routine. 

By grabbing a bite, your body will have more balanced blood sugar levels to maintain energy throughout the day. It’ll also improve mood, short-term memory, and provide faster recovery and more energy after workouts. 

For your employees, a work-life balance is essential to productivity. As a manager, you have to come to work with your A-game. But looking at the health and well-being of your employees is important, too. If you’re noticing a significant drop in performance metrics with a given employee, ask them if they’re eating breakfast (or getting a good night’s sleep) and talk through some ways that the business can work with them to see a productivity improvement. 

It can also alert you to other productivity problems you’re probably ignoring. 

4. Making Use of the Time, Commute, and Resources You Have

While commute times are decreasing thanks to the rise in more remote work, some still have to make time for getting kids to school or commuting to work. 

Fortune 500 leaders say that they make use of the time they have by:

  • Listening to podcasts or audiobooks on the drive
  • Hands-free calling for time-sensitive issues
  • Reading and responding to emails if on public transit
  • Research and preparing for presentations

While not all your free time should be spent dedicated to work, tackling some pressing issues will make work smoother once you get there. 

Consider implementing this with your employees, too. Reward behavior both during work hours and outside of work hours that involve professional development and learning. You could consider building out a reward system for every week that ongoing learning was conducted to motivate your employees and encourage the learning process.

Allot ongoing learning hours in your employee monitoring system and grant each employee these hours each week they are dedicated to the practice. You can consider a reward system or sharing hour when employees can talk about what they learned, and also how it can be applied to employee productivity levels.

Remote workers can take more time to learn about best business practices. Encourage your remote employee to set more aggressive productivity goals and learning practices to see where it will get them!

5. Tackling the Hard Stuff First

Once at work or at your company computer, leaders say that they use the morning work hours to tackle harder projects first (also called eating the frog). This is atypical compared to what some workers do, which is reading emails and meetings. Research suggests that the first few hours after waking is the time when your brain is the sharpest and most likely to stay focused. 

So don’t waste it on emails. Set aside time to complete the hardest, most pressing tasks right away in the morning. 

Encourage these daily habits for your employees, too. Order tasks in their productivity monitoring software so they complete hard tasks first. In 1:1 meetings, ask your employees what they did and if they thought it was an effective use of their time. If they did not address their hardest tasks first, ask them what held them up to work through the efficiency issue.

Employee monitoring software can help you keep track of these types of metrics. If you see your employees getting to work earlier, ask them what they want to do and see if they are willing to try harder tasks rather than simple-minded tasks. 

Rewarding a productive employee will pay off. Consider implementing monitoring software and project management software to keep track of these metrics.

6. Or Tackling the Most Important Stuff First

In the same vein, you can also consider tackling the most important items on your agenda first. This will allow you to move more freely throughout your day, knowing that you don’t have to tackle this stuff anymore. 

Take the time to impart this mentality to your staff. The first hour when an employee starts their workplace should be dedicated to important tasks, and this can be denoted in the employee monitoring software. This will set a precedent in the workplace for high productivity levels in the morning. This does not mean smooth sailing later on, but it will allow efficiency and productivity to be used right away. 

You can even consider a “focus time” during the first hour of the workday. Focus time as a group might encourage your employees to show up earlier and commit to tackling the hard stuff (or the most important stuff) early in the day, reaping the productivity gains associated with early morning focus levels. 

With lots to do on any given day, you want to set up your team for success. Take note from these Fortune 500 leaders on what they are doing in the morning and apply these behaviors and beliefs in your daily routine and office space. 

Consider encouraging any of these items with your employees to boost employee experience and engagement. Work with employee monitoring software to see these productivity gains and benefit from them as well! Start improving productivity with SoftActivity today!

By SoftActivity Team.

May 2nd, 2022