All studies indicate that you’re likely to be more effective when you tackle big challenges earlier in the day, as opposed to later. Peak energy and alertness for career professionals comes at about at 8 a.m. Concurrently, fewer interruptions are likely to occur earlier in the day. Certainly you might be effective tackling large tasks later in the afternoon, and as everyone has discovered at one time or another, you frequently you have little choice but to do so.
The long-term chances of success, however, are on your side you when you seek to handle the biggest challenges of the day as early as practical, perhaps even as your first task.
When devising your to-do list, as you identify the key challenge that you face for the day, circle them, or draw an arrow from them up to the top of the page, indicating which tasks you will tackle first. Then, clear away any minor obstacles that might impede your ability to get started on this project.
Do you need to re-arrange your work space accordingly? Then do so; not as a procrastination technique, but because you’ll be making modifications to your work space that enable you to perform at your best.
Do you need to let others know that you do not want to be disturbed? If yes, go ahead and let them know. Clear stretches of time give you the best chance of being productive, particularly when you’re taking on a new project that requires highly creative thinking or that is unfamiliar to you.
Each distraction, however fleeting, could turn into a full-fledged interruption. Interruptions, in and of themselves, are not so terrible and on average last only a few minutes. The concern, however, is that an interruption often leads to other activities that can run 12 to 14 minutes. Thus, any interruption could pull you from the task at hand for up to 16 minutes, or more.
As the Day Passes
You’re more likely to be distracted as the day unfolds, versus early in the morning. So, you have vital reasons to tackle the biggest and most onerous tasks as early as you can. Then, no matter how challenging those early tasks might have been, as you’ve experienced before, once you complete tasks, which at first might have seemed intimidating, the entire day tends to go better.
Major completions, early in the morning have a way of positively impacting the balance of the day. Freed up from any psychological baggage of handling challenging tasks, and having the mental and physical resolve to go forward, you almost automatically consider, “What other great things can I accomplish today?”
About the author
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” as designated by the USPTO and a premier thought leader on work-life balance, harmony, and integration issues. Jeff speaks to organizations worldwide that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the work-life balance of their people. He wrote Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Perfect Timing, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com or call 919-932-1996 for more information