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6 Ways to Give It 100 Percent All Day, Every Day

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I received an email last week from a friend and colleague of many years who works for a large bank in New England. As a senior vice president of … err, something, he heads up the training division that supports call center operations. Every few weeks, he wakes up to find he’s been promoted and given a larger staff to manage. He must be doing something right – or something very wrong. Most of my friends don’t make a lot of sense. He does:

“One thing I share with my managers (I now have 20-plus on my work team) is to start the day at 100 percent. Many people come to work thinking that it is going to be a ‘bad’ day, and then it goes downhill from there. So by mid-morning, they are at 50 percent or less from an outlook/attitude standpoint. I find that if I start my day at 100 percent-plus, then if things do go awry, I may only drop to 90 percent or 80 percent, which is a lot better than life in the 40 percent range.”

Of course, starting the day at 100 percent is not that easy – or is it? Here’s how the world might look over the course of a year if we only gave it 99 percent (which ain’t that bad) rather than the full 100:

  • 12 newborns would be given to the wrong parents each day
  • 8,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled per hour
  • The IRS would lose 2 million documents over the course of the year
  • 2.5 million books would be shipped with the wrong covers
  • Every day, two planes landing at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport would be unsafe
  • 315 entries in Webster’s Dictionary would be misspelled
  • 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions would be written per year
  • 103,260 income tax returns would be processed incorrectly during the year
  • 5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced would be flat
  • 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly
  • 3,056 copies of The Wall Street Journal would be missing one of three sections

This year, can you put a dollar amount on the number of prospects, referrals, sales, customers, and clients you would lose if you only gave it part of your potential effort? How about retention? How much more stress and aggravation would you have? No wonder your attitude is so bad!

Luckily, there are six things you can do right now to start every day at 100 percent.

1. Start your day early

Most days, I start working between 4 and 5 a.m. – sometimes earlier. I get lots done. I know it’s a bit insane, but this is by far my most productive time. Often, I get more done in those hours than all day. You may not be thrilled about waking up early, but even by getting to work one hour earlier every day (five hours a week, 20 hours a month, etc.), imagine how much more productive you could be and the momentum you could bring to your daily routine. Hey – if nothing else, you may get to go home an hour earlier.

2. Start and end every day with a to-do list

Maybe two lists – one consists of people (prospects, clients, return calls), and the other is tasks (thank you notes, proposals, contracts, case analysis, document reviews). You could devote a set amount of time for the people – maybe the first two hours of your day – and the rest toward cranking out projects. Return calls toward the end of the day and cross-reference with your to-do list. Did you accomplish everything? If not, include what you didn’t accomplish in tomorrow’s to-do list. Sound basic? It is.

3. Read something positive – and relevant

Jump start your day by reading an article or blog that gets your blood pumping. Does it focus on a topic that will be helpful in the work day that lies ahead? If you need to cold call, network, negotiate, or take customer service calls today, why not read something that teaches or reminds you how to punch up your approach?

4. Tackle your most challenging tasks first

Whatever takes the most time, gives you the most heartache, and requires the most energy, do it first, and do it now. Get it out of the way so you can move on. Now, moving on …

5. Speak more to those you admire

Of the people you know, who makes you cringe every time they email or call? Those folks who make you screen your calls – the calls you never answer. Of course, if you don’t know anyone like that, it may be you! Avoid them. They drain your energy and distract you from doing what you need to do. I know it’s not nice, but it’s true. Instead, make a list of the top 10, or, if you’re lucky, the top 20 people you know who inspire and charge you with positive energy. Stay in contact with them often, ask their advice, offer them yours – just respect their time. You don’t want to be the one who makes them cringe. Positive energy is contagious – catch it whenever you can.

6. Make time to do something fun

Someone recently shared with me that they quit playing tennis – a game they love – to focus more on building their business. Big mistake! Make the time to get to the gym, catch a movie, get to Junior’s soccer game, and work on that serve. Play requires the same 100 percent. Your business will reap the benefits, and so will you.

Create positive habits around these ideas, and some others that you might have, and put everything you have into your daily game plan. I’ll call you first thing in the morning to check on your progress.

Michael Goldberg is a speaker, consultant, author, and the founder of Building Blocks Consulting. His book, “Knock-Out Networking! More Prospects, More Referrals, More Business!” was published in March. For more information or to subscribe to Michael’s free blog, The Building Blocks to Success, please visit or