The start of the day is really about the end of the previous day for me - there is always stuff that I wish I'd got done that day but haven't got to eg because an urgent customer request intervened or a project took longer than expected etc
So at the end of the day before I go home, I make a list of what I must get done the next day This is usually a mixture of :
1- preset appointments (if I have any that day)
2- urgent things that have arisen in the last 24-48 hours eg customer fault reported
3- long term projects that I need to move forward (maybe internal non customer)
Sometimes it is so busy that only item 2 is relevant
So in effect, what propels me forward is the customer needing my response .
And - in practical terms - the fact that I see my list of 'must do today' as soon as I get to my desk.
(I usually leave the list across my keyboard so I can't fail to notice it!)
I also set my Outlook email software to open to my tasks list initially instead of to the list of incoming email. (Even if I flick straight to email again , it gives me a quick nudge first thing , not to forget that there are lots of tasks still to do)
If you don't have a customer facing role or you don't have a high volume of work coming through or anyone chasing you up, then it requires more internal motivation.
If you don't have that then maybe telling others what you are planning to do would work - you need someone who is chatty and friendly and likely to ask - how is X going?
You will be embarrassed to say you haven't started..
But if there is literally no one around then that's not going to work.
How about setting yourself a reward that only triggers after you've worked hard for the first 40 mins say?
Something simple like a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit goes down well in the UK!
Also setting up a lunch appointment with a friend so you feel less isolated and have something to look forward to - and it creates a kind of deadline to get things done in the morning before the appointment.
Good luck - working in a small firm is not easy