What you do during the first 15 minutes after you first wake up in the morning could make your day successful or sabotage it. That's the word from productivity coach Hillary Rettig, author of "The 7 Secrets of the Prolific," who maintains that most of us are freshest and most energetic in the early morning hours. And it's all about time management -- even at 5:30am. "Good time-managers value ever smaller amounts of time. Those first few minutes of your day -- both at home and when you get to the office -- are vital," Rettig tells Entrepreneur magazine. How can you make the most of this precious, early-morning time? Rettig advises the following:

1. Do not go online.
It may feel automatic to turn on your phone or computer and check email and social media before you've even had your first cup of coffee. Don't do it! You may intend to spend only a few minutes online, but that can easily turn into an hour or more, something Rettig calls "getting sucked into the vortex of the Internet." Best advice: Stay offline until 10 a.m.

2. Do not turn on the TV.
Many of us turn on the TV while getting dressed or eating breakfast. And then we just keep watching it, glued to some inane show. "The television stretches out our morning ritual and distracts us from our mission," Rettig explained to Entrepreneur magazine. "Don't get anesthetized by the TV--leave it off." Best advice: If you enjoy the background noise the TV provides, turn on music instead.

3. Do not skip your workout.
Oh, it is so easy to roll over and sleep an extra half-hour instead of hitting the basement treadmill or taking a run around the neighborhood. Don't do it! Procrastinate your exercise, and you'll be procrastinating all day long. "Procrastination begins in the body, and deskwork helps foster it," she tells Entrepreneur magazine. Morning exercise gets your blood flowing and helps make you more alert. Best advice: If you don't have time to hit the gym first thing, start your day by stretching, twisting or even dancing.

4. Do not answer the phone.
Caller ID allows you to tell who is calling, so unless you suspect it's a family or work emergency, let it ring and go to voice mail. "The phone can be highly interruptive," Rettig cautions. Best advice: Turn off your phone for the first few hours of the day.

5. Do not tackle busy work or dreaded work first.
When you get to your desk, it can be tempting to begin with the easy, busy work or even take on the day's most dreaded task just to get it done. Instead, begin with a task that is more likely to yield a positive outcome. Best advice: Accomplish something immediately. It will motivate you for the rest of the day.


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