Friday, September 11, 2009

Do the Worst Thing First - or the Most Important.

One of my success habit is do the worst thing first thing. I like to do it first thing in the morning and again right after lunch. This is a great way to solve procrastination.

But as I practise this habit, I notice a conflict. Often, the greatest impact, the most important thing is not the worst thing. So by practising my worst thing first habit, I do not do my most important. And working on the important is the whole basis of time management.

An example of that for me is admin work is my least favourite - so filling in bank forms might be my worst thing (and one of the things I procrastinate on the most). I actually like structuring purchase agreements and I have one of those to do. And it would be the place that I can add the greatest value.

My solution - do both but the "worst thing first", I limit to 15 minutes. I can always spare 15 minutes.

I must be in a philosophical mood today because this leads me to think about gray areas. Most things are not black and white. This lack of true clarity can slow or stop decision making which in itself can be worse than making the wrong decision. It is almost always best to make a decision quickly with imperfect information than to try for perfection and delay.

I have repeatedly seen that leaders who can handle ambiguity are the most successful.

And a quote sent to me by my daughter, Laura, too long to put on twitter:

"Humans cannot create matter. We can, however, create value. Creating value is, in fact, our very humanity. When we praise people for their strength of character, we are actually acknowledging their ability to create value."-Tsunesaburo Makiguchi


At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Mike Rogers said...

Hi Jim, great post.

I agree, I just put a similar post on my blog and it is based on book, the 4-hour work week. I ask myself at the end of each day as I plan, if I had a heart attack and could only work two hours a day due to doctor's orders, what would I focus those two hours on? This is an amazing question to ask.

I remember reading a book once that said you should eat a frog each morning. And if you did that, it would be worse thing you would do all day and give you energy the rest of the day. Well, I agree, eating the frog may be helpful, but if eating the frog has no purpose or really isn't that important, what a waste of time. I prefer instead to ask myself the question I stated earlier. It has really made a big difference in my productivity.


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