Task Management: Daily Choices for Difficult Tasks

Last weekend I really needed to work on my book, Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Performance on a Daily Basis, write a news tip and four blog entries, and a start a chapter about clutter clearing to attract a new job for a friend’s book. That’s a lot of writing for one day! 

I knew it would be tempting to first organize my desk and catch up on email in order to ground myself for the difficult task of writing. But, I remembered what Brian Tracy advocated in Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. He recommended that we look at important tasks as frogs. If you have to eat a frog, wouldn’t you want to get that out of the way first?

Once I get started writing I have great fun, but looking at it from a distance, I always feel a bit overwhelmed. With Brian Tracy’s wise words swimming in my head, I cleared my desk of all papers except those that I’d need for writing and launched into my writing tasks. As I knocked off one after the other, my overwhelm receded and I felt really good, proud of myself for my perseverance.

At the end of the day the important work was done and I still made significant progress on all the rest of the tasks that needed attention. Victory!

Quality time and task management requires a daily commitment to doing what is difficult first every day. I’m glad I won over the impulse to do what would have been more fun in the moment. It set the tone for another productive week.

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