Stop procrastinating – “Do the most difficult task first”

October 22, 2006 — Leave a comment


By Danny Perreault, Canadian Motiva Group

I used to be one to procrastinate on a regular basis.

I have tried to get things done on a daily basis. The steps I am going to recommend to you have helped me Improve on my ability to get things done.

1. Set your goals- Define exactly what it is that you want. Know you goals and dreams before you begin your journey.

Write your goals down.

2. Plan your day in advance- Use a Planner, Palm Pilot ™ or a to-do list, before you go to bed at night write down the

things you need to get done.

3. Use the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your results will come from twenty percent of your efforts. Focus on that

twenty percent.

4. Focus on key areas- Identify those areas that you must absolutely, positively get done.

5. Prepare and do your homework. The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at key tasks, the faster you start

them and the faster you finish them.

6. Identify bottlenecks- Determine your obstacles and roadblocks and work at eliminating them.

7. Take one elephant at a time- you can accomplish the biggest, hardest task if you do it one step at a time.

8. Imagine that you are leaving. Pretend that you are leaving for a long vacation and work as if you had to get all the

tasks done before you left.

9. Determine your peak times. Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and schedule

you’re most important and demanding tasks around these times.

10. Motivate yourself. Become your biggest cheerleader. Find the best in any situation

11. Do the most difficult task first. Tackle the task or to-do that will make the biggest contribution to accomplishing

your goals.

12. Develop a sense of urgency. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.

I recently received an email from my mom that puts this into perspective.

A professor stood before his Philosophy 101 class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a jar of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar and of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into

the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, and your favorite passions, things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else – the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your partner out dancing.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter.

Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”

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