Do the Difficult First

To begin the year consider this as a daily mode of operation. If you have some challenging things that you want to accomplish consider tackling those things right out of the gate. If it’s your most challenging annual resolution, take steps early in the year to make it happen. If it’s a recurring thing you do each week, get after it on Monday if possible. If you have something on your daily calendar that you would generally put off until the end of the day because it makes you uncomfortable, think about taking it on first thing. A few things happen:

  1. You gain confidence and energy when you do the difficult first
  2. You create MOMENTUM and you are more effective with your time
  3. You minimize the absolute waste of time caused by worrying about the thing

Tackling the difficult first sets us up for great success and everything else just tends to fall into place.  As a leader, I always ensured my Mondays and Tuesdays were packed with the challenges and the most important work early on those days. By the end of the day Tuesday, I knew that I had been more effective in those two days than many are in an entire week or even month. This allowed for great energy and productivity to continue taking on important tasks and building relationships for the remainder of the week.

The opposite is procrastinating on the challenges. This not only allows more time for worry but also can have a negative impact on self-worth and cause a bit of imposter syndrome. In addition, others (your clients, your leadership, your team, your spouse, your family) may perceive you as fearful or not willing to do what it takes to succeed in whatever role you are in. Clearly, challenging situations that are avoided or put off can fester into far greater issues than if they were resolved earlier. That’s a fact.

If your challenging item is a difficult meeting or phone conversation later in the day, you can still use a bit of this strategy. Take steps in preparation and you will gain confidence. If it’s a meeting maybe review your presentation materials one more time and practice delivery, if it’s a tough conversation maybe make some notes on the key messaging that you want to get across and key questions that you’ll ask. Do these things early in the morning and you’ll set up your day for success and give yourself more confidence during the challenging stuff.

Do the difficult first, and you will soar to new heights in ’24.

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