HERE'S A RULE WE all know we ought to follow:
Do the important things first. You and I know if were doing
something of secondary importance while we still have something
of primary importance to do, were essentially wasting our
time even if what were doing is constructive, productive,
positive, loving, or any other worthwhile description. If it
isnt one of the few things that are important to us, then
its a waste of time.
Of course thats a rather extreme
and absolute thing to say, and there are always mitigating circumstances
and perfectly valid reasons why the rule cant be followed
all the time, but doing important things first is a rule few
would argue with.
Important tasks are usually more difficult
than unimportant tasks, so we tend to put them off. But listen:
Thats because were thinking about what it will be
like to do the task. And thats where we go wrong.
Dont think about that. Think about what it will be like
to have the task done. Theres a big difference
a difference that can make a difference. It takes your attention
off the part you dont like and puts your focus on something
you really want: the result. That subtle difference will make
the task more appealing, so youll be less likely to put
Instead of looking at the bills to be paid
and thinking about all the time and frustration and neck-hurting
hassle, imagine the feeling youll get when you finish,
when all the bills are stacked up there, paid, stamped and ready
to mail. What a great feeling! Keep that image in mind when you
look at the stack of bills. Youll get to it sooner.
And when you get to something sooner, you
suffer less because you spend less psychological effort avoiding
the task. You get to spend more of your time on the other side
satisfied that the job is finished.
Thats it. Its a simple change
that makes things better. Vividly anticipate the completion
of important tasks and you will get more of them done.
Vividly imagine the completion
of important tasks.