With apologies to Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets of Successful People Know about Time Management, I am going to put my own spin on his most excellent book. The second thing he talked about is determining your Most Important Thing.
Determine what the most important thing is that you need to get accomplished for the day. Some people have called this technique “eat the frog first.” If, first thing in the morning, you knocked out the thing you have been putting off, your day will feel successful and everything else will be easy by comparison. Sounds logical, right? But harder to implement than you think.
You put things off for a reason. Perhaps it’s something you don’t like to do. Or you know it’s going to take a lot of time. But the longer you put it off, the more it grows in your mind and looms over you like a dark cloud. That sense of dread can follow you and weigh you down, even if you don’t realize it. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of that negative feeling? The only way to do that is to get it over with.
It might not even be a negative thing, but a hot deadline that you need to devote time to. Don’t open your email, don’t check your phone. Start your day, when you are freshest, with the item you have determined is the most important thing to accomplish.
Before I leave the office for the day, the last thing I do is check my schedule for the next day. I give special consideration to what I put on my schedule for first thing in the morning as the most important thing, and I let my brain churn on it. The next morning, I go through my routine as usual, but when it’s time to work, I start with the first thing on my calendar. I don’t even open my email.
Email is a necessary evil, and it does make life much easier in many ways. It can also be a terrible distraction. Author Kevin Kruse has a whole other chapter on email. For now, suffice it to say, once you open your email, new things will pop up and distract you. Your email waited all night; it can wait a little longer.
Sometimes the project is a big one that will take several days. I just split it up into several blocks of time, but I still put it first every day until it’s complete. Once that task is complete, I allow myself to open my email and knock out the other tasks on the list. But I always have a feeling of satisfaction, having completed something important to me and my business.