The Morning Surf - Make Your Mornings More Productive
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I've been using the Internet for a long time and before RSS was common I had a folder in my bookmarks that I called Morning Surf. These were the sites that I made a point of visiting every morning to get a feel for what was happening online and beyond.

These days I rarely use bookmarks, but my morning surf continues and I believe that you need to implement something similar in your life in order to be more productive. This holds true for both individuals and businesses. Like any good recipe, you need to customize and tweak to fit your individual needs.

I'm sure this process will evolve and change, but currently this is what my morning surf looks like.

  • I get up, pour a cup of coffee and sit down on the couch with my iPad and flip on CNN. I like having the news on because I know I'll get the top stories and any breaking news.
  • I check my @ messages on Twitter to see what conversations I missed over night and reply to as many of them as I can.
  • I then check several Twitter lists I have set up for different audiences to see what they are talking about and read any news I may have missed.
  • At this point I'll tweet some sort of good morning to let people know that I'm awake and is an old fashion manner that is part of my DNA. Plus, by saying good morning people know that the links I'll be sharing shortly are not some sort of scheduled blitz of links. Plus, this simple tradition always leads to conversations with people.
  • New to my routine is then checking my Google+ to reply to comments and see what people are up to there. While there is some overlap with Twitter, there is more unique than same sharing here and I love the different level of interaction.
  • Because I love to stay on top of what my friends are doing, I next browse Instagallery which allows me to enjoy my Instagram feed on my iPad.
  • My morning paper has been replaced by Zite. It is an iPad app that presents me with articles based on my preferences, previous shares, likes and topics that I have chosen. Every day I try to share 3-5 articles that I think others will enjoy. The built in sharing button makes it very easy to tweet these.
  • Finally, it is time to look at my inbox. I clear out all the clutter, spam and other things that I don't need to respond to in any format. I'll read messages from people I know and respond to those that are urgent. I'll leave everything else till later.
  • Usually by now it is time for the kids to leave for school. I see them out and flip the television over to NBC as The Today Show starts. It is amazing to see how different networks cover the news.
  • Finally, I pull out my laptop and start writing posts, articles and e-mails. While I could do this on the iPad, I type very fast and enjoy a full keyboard when I have lots of writing to do.

This gets tweaked slightly when I'm on the road, catching a plane or on vacation, but in some form it happens every day and gives me a jump start on what needs to get done.

Any business can set up something similar when they first get into the office or open the shop door. The key is that you need to be listening, replying, creating and sharing. Those four things will help you be much more productive online when done properly and naturally rather than being forced.

What routine do you have that helps you?