Do This One Thing First At Work

J.R. Heimbigner

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Looking up at the clock, I saw it was only 3 PM. With only two items left in my company software to complete, I figured I was going to be leaving by 3:30 PM and be home early for once. I jumped into the second to last thing, completed it in two minutes. This was too good to be true.

I opened up the last one and let out a long sigh.

This is the one assignment I have been dreading to do all week. I knew it was out there, but I was really hoping it wasn’t for a few more days. Making me feel worse, there was a note from my manager to complete it today. Looks like I will be leaving after five again.

I should have done this one first…

What Do I Consider A Hard Task?

The simple answer: Anything I want to procrastinate doing.

For most of us, we put off doing things for several reasons. Anytime I find myself pushing a task out, or just letting it fall to the wayside, I have to admit it is a hard task.

Not only do I need to admit this to myself, but I need to acknowledge it is OK to have a hard task before me. Why? Because this hard task, may not be hard for other people. And if this is true, I need to recognize something else:

What is the root issue to my procrastination?

Rooted in…

Fear

There can be a lot of things we could be afraid of about a task. In fact, fear could be a topic all to itself. When it comes to completing a task, I fear a few things.

Fear seeps in when I know someone will be disagreeable. I experience fear when I have no idea what will come of the task. For each of us, fear looks different in these situations.

Lack of Skill

In my day job, I have had a lot of favor to move among different positions and work my way upward. With this favor has come times of adjustment to new positions.

And in every position change, I come in short of skill for these roles. Which for most of us, this is true. I will put something off when I know I am lacking in skills.

Lack of Confidence

While I might have the skill and no fear about a task, from time to time, I lack the confidence in completing this task. Again, this has happened to me in role changes within my day job.

Or with life circumstances where I have the brain knowledge but have never completed this particular task. Basically any home renovation project I attempt.

Time Loss

This one is my most favorite if I can have a favorite. If I know I have a task that will take a lot of time, I will put it off. Which is a terrible tactic. Just like in the story above, I went from going home early to staying late in an instance.

First Things First

Since I started down this journey of finding my intentional productivity, I have found this to be an important part of becoming more productive in work and in life. Putting these hard tasks first has allowed me to get them out of the way to do the easier ones. Or sometimes, the more enjoyable tasks.

When I get to my office in the morning, I look through my workload for the day and look for the projects and assignments I do not want to do. Once I find those hard tasks, I put them into the section on my priority sheet: First Things.

I finish preparing my day, go through my morning routine, and then I start into these difficult tasks. What typically happens is I have more energy at the beginning of the day to push through these hard tasks. Because this is true, I am able to complete them more quickly or complete them despite my rooted issues.

And then, once I have completed the hard tasks I am able to cruise to the finish line of the day. Given no fires pop up or there are not too many difficult tasks.

Side Note About Hard Tasks

I work very hard not to put more than two or three hard assignments or tasks on any given day. Otherwise, I will get bogged down and potentially run out of steam or ability to complete them and get through my things every day. It is important to be aware of this.

Rewind and Play

Looking up at the clock, I breathe a sigh of relief. Whew! I completed that hard one and it’s only 11 AM. If I am lucky and the rest of my work is what it should be, I might just get out of here by three or four. Good thing I knocked out the hard assignment first.

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My goal with my writing is to help people get everything done they want in their very busy lives. I believe we can we all can achieve our dreams and I know it starts with having the right mindset, systems, and taking action every single day. My writing shares how to do this through self-improvement, inspiration, and productivity.

Spokane, WA
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