A lot of it is luck. I had my first submission in at 00:00:00 and was #14 in the queue so I didn't get my first transaction. I still managed to salvage the window and end up with 1 more day off and some a little extra money. Trips in Chicago sucked though, not willing to sacrifice commutability for productivity (at least from the choices I had last night).
It definitely helps being the first one in the queue. Houston FO's will definitely benefit in the ILIW when I leave IAH for EWR CA next year. EWR CA's... not so much.
The views expressed here, although possibly misguided but well intentioned, are my own and do not represent ExpressJet policy or procedure in any official capacity.