How do you prioritize tasks each day? Do you start your most important task first or save it for last?
Does the order you do things even matter? Is one way of doing things more productive than the other?
To answer these last two questions, it actually makes a huge difference when you start your most important task. And I’m convinced it’s best to prioritize your most important task for the first thing in the morning. Here’s why.
For starters, the majority of people are most productive in the morning, when willpower is at its highest. Otherwise, if you start your most important activity late at night, your mind’s willpower is depleted after all the decisions it made during the day.
Also, starting your day with your most important task gives you certainty that you can get it done without being distracted by other things or people. The morning time is seemingly always yours, and if it’s not then you can adjust it by waking up earlier to make this time yours.
Prioritizing Your Most Important Task First
As a college student, here are examples of choosing your most important task first. If you’re looking for a summer internship, it’s reaching out to five professionals who could help your job search before your first class. If you’re going to med school, it’s studying for the MCAT the first thing in the morning. Or if you’re a senior with a job interview this week, it’s practicing your interview answers right when you wake up.
If you’re working full-time, it may look like this. An author (hey that’s me), writes for 60 minutes on a new book before leaving for work in the morning. A financial planner reaches out to 20 prospects right when they get in the office. Or a middle school teacher looking for a new position applies to three different jobs before grading papers that can wait.
However, planning to do your big thing first and following through can be a different story. Answering emails, browsing through social media, or sleeping in are all potential thieves of your most important time right when you wake up.
So how do you stay committed? I believe it begins with your mindset and also knowing (plus remembering) the benefits of planning your day this way.
One way I get my most important task done in the morning is having the mindset that it’s a meeting with the President of the United States. If I had a meeting with the President, I wouldn’t dare show up late, get distracted checking my phone, or miss it entirely for something else.
Instead, I would do the opposite and make the meeting with the POTUS no matter if it means overcoming hell or high water. So I treat my most important task with the same reverence, and I don’t replace it with less important activities.
Benefits Of Completing Your Most Important Task
By prioritizing to finish the most important task first, you obviously will make long strides to achieving your major goal. On top of that, you also gain two huge benefits.
The first benefit after completing the thing that matters the most is the emotional high you feel the rest of the day. And who doesn’t want to be happier? This early morning productivity will help you have a great night and be guilt-free of uncompleted assignments.
Also, since positive thoughts lead to positive actions and results, the momentum you gained in the morning will carry over to finishing other activities. Once you take down the giant task to start off, the rest of the day and night won’t be able to stop your productivity if you decide to keep working. If this is you, remember to take breaks as you go though.
With this insight, people would have to be foolish to lose the positive vibes and productivity boost by procrastinating on their most important task for later.
New Time-Management, New Success
Drastically improving your productivity and your life is as straightforward as these two steps:
1) Prioritize your most important task for the first one or two hours of your morning (if you don’t know what your most important task is then that’s another issue).
2) Treat the time you allot to your most important task with the same respect and reverence as a meeting with the President. Remember the side benefits (happiness and productivity). Then focus and complete it.
By doing only these two steps, you will repeatedly accomplish impressive achievements all year; leave stress behind as you feel great the rest of the day; and give yourself more free time thanks to your productivity.
That’s even better than a win-win solution. It’s a win-win-win.
How do you prioritize tasks? Are you now going to start your day off with your most important task? How would a productivity boost help you reach goals and change your life?