Maximize Your Time: Start with an easy task

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| |

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So, as per last week's instruction of planning your week in advance, you find yourself staring at a daunting list of appointments and tasks. Now what? Any time I sit down to get work done, I always start off with the easiest item on my list. Knowing that I can check off one item and begin to shrink the list gives me the motivation to continue on. For example, if I had a choice between taking notes for a research paper, reading 50 pages or completing a simple 10 question quiz online, I would start with the quiz. BAM. One down, two to go. If I decided to start reading the chapter, I may get halfway through and decide that I deserve a break for almost finishing. And then where does that leave me? Not much better off than when I started.

Perhaps you need to wash the dishes or vacuum the floor. If working in a clean and organized space clears your mind and helps you to focus better, then by all means, clean first.

I wouldn't suggest leaving your hardest or timeliness task until the very end, because you may tire before starting. Try to sandwich the monster of the day somewhere in the middle after you have hit your stride, but before you are winded. (I tried to make a running analogy, but since I run like Phoebe from Friends, I avoid running at all costs.) 

Also, don't always consider checking and answering emails as your easiest task. Unanswered questions can ultimately lead to more work that may not be time sensitive and lead you off track of what you set out to accomplish. Set aside a specific amount of time to clean out your inbox. 

The bottom line is to start with a task that you know can easily be accomplished in order to give yourself the motivational boost to complete the less desirable tasks in your day. Think of the simple task as drinking espresso, a quick burst of energy, as opposed to sipping coffee.


Z said...

My ritual for starting a long night of homework/studying is cleaning my room and getting a snack. Then I have 'no excuses' for taking an unnecessary break halfway through my work. Love these tips!

Kaysie said...

NPR posted something similar to this this morning (Facebook nerd alert, I "liked" NPR) and one of the key parts was going slow. I think I can handle that ;)

Charlene Maugeri said...

These are some great tips. I always try to start with the easiest task. I get so overwhelmed and stressed so easily. I have to set goals for myself with my to-do list