Taking care of your most important task at the beginning of your work day is one of the best pieces of productivity advice floating around. But it only helps if you actually follow through with your work the rest of the day.
Photo by Pingz Man.
Taking on the big stuff — or eating “a live frog first thing in the morning” — counters procrastination and gets you focused, but as Cal Newport explains on his blog, it shouldn’t be the only thing you worry about each day:
My main issue with the MIT [most important thing] strategy is that it implicitly concedes that most of your day is out of your control… The more effective answer, however, is to reject the premise that your day must unfold reactively. Someone who plans every minute of their day, and every day of their week, is going to accomplish an order of magnitude more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective.
Don’t go into a workday assuming that only a couple hours are actually in your control, and don’t let chaos take over just because you finished your most important task for the day. There’s still plenty more to do, and a great deal of it is probably important. Take that productive energy and keeping go full speed ahead. Of course, as Newport points out, it’s not always possible to accurately predict how much time you’ll need for tasks, or to know when unexpected work will pop up. So while you can’t schedule things down to the minute, a little planned buffer time in your schedule can get you on the right track.
Your Most Important Thing Is Not Enough [Cal Newport]