I have a list. On the list are the things I need to do today.
Some of the things are the things I’m really good at, which comprise the bulk and the core of the work I do. These are my key actions. Things like writing. Researching. Blogging. Editing.
Then there are the other things on the list.
Things I’m not really good at, or don’t enjoy, or that are simply not in my core work. Social media stuff. Updating a status, again. Creating an ebook cover. Tweaking the sidebar of my website. Fixing that plug-in. Phone calls. Emails. Anything graphic design.
I enjoy some of these things, but I’m not really good at them. The amount of time I have to invest in, say, a small graphic design project, is highly disproportionate to the value I get in return.
Please don’t ask me how many hours I spent on the last ebook cover I made, and it’s only so-so at best. I’m not good at graphic design. I have fun tinkering around with it, but my best is still only mediocre… if that.
But when I look at my list, this immediate instinctive urge propels me toward that Weak Side.
Why? I guess I know if I attempt one of my Core Tasks then I’ll have to endure The First Five Minutes, and I don’t want to.
So I waste my best energy and my time on the stuff I’m not good at, or don’t enjoy (phone calls, emails, social media).
- can’t complete what sounds like a simple task or
- drain all my motivation and energy out on the stuff I really don’t like and don’t do well.
Either way, I wrap up a round of that mess feeling discouraged and demotivated.
A Better Way: Sort and Put Aside Weak Tasks for Later
Sort the Tasks: What are my core tasks? What are my strengths? Focus on those first – getting through the first 5 minutes to the other side where I own it – and GET SOME STUFF DONE. Some important stuff.
I ALWAYS, always, always, always, always feel more energized, more motivated, more interested after I’ve completed or gained significant ground on a core task. Always. Chances are, if I make myself focus on those first thousand words early in the day (instead of late) I’ll just keep going and write double that.
Also Read: Categorize Your Work into Energy Levels
But if I waste the first hours on the other stuff, then squeeze the core work in at the end, I start on a low tank and run out of time.
That makes work that could be fun be very much NOT fun.
It discourages and depresses.
And it gives my most valuable focus, time, and energy to my least valuable tasks.
Take Action on This Concept:
- If you haven’t already, identify your core tasks.
- When you make your daily to-do list, mark which are your Core Tasks and which are not.
- Spend your first time on your Core Tasks (which now get to be capitalized).
- Spend your remaining time on the other stuff. It’s detail. Let it fall in through the cracks. Little rocks. It will fit, and if it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it.
- If you’re concerned about getting through the list, remember this: don’t put so much on your list (you’re in charge of it, no one else is) and block out an hour or so at the end of the day to tackle all the other stuff.