Do the tough stuff first. I’ve been a professional at procrastination in the past. Finding a reason to justify putting something off that I didn’t want to put the effort into doing was easy. One of the things that has made my comeback successful is to do the tough stuff first. It was hard getting back into an exercise routine. So I made myself do it first thing in the morning. That way I don’t have anything that gets in the way. No excuses of a long day, appointments, or such. I get up an hour early which means 3am. It is a commitment that I am not willing to change because it works. I feel better. I get things done. I never have the guilt for lack of discipline or skipping a workout. I just do it.
When there is something else that comes up that I feel myself starting to drag my heels on I just jump in. This has also made me more creative. For instance I find that making appointments over the phone just annoys the hell out of me. For doctors you have to verify information every damn time. I get why. I’ve worked in the medical field. Being put on hold and do all that still annoys me. So now when possible I make my appointments online. More and more clinics and businesses are doing this. It makes sense for them and for me and I am more likely to get it done. Whenever I have something that makes me drag my feet like that I try to find a back door that makes it easier or at the very least less annoying.
The consequences if you don’t do the tough stuff first:
1) You have it hanging over your head all day long
It drags you down and you think about it all day long if you don’t do the tough stuff first. If it’s exercising you tend to move even less than usual during the day because you are “resting up”. If it’s an essay to write you may think of all these brilliant things all day long then get to the evening only to find that they have all vanished from your head. Cleaning only gets more tough as the day goes on and you are tired from the day’s activities.
2) You run out of time
If you save the tough stuff for later in the day you may just run out of time to do it. Say for instance you haven’t estimated very well the time it takes to do the tough stuff or it is actually tougher than you thought, you may find yourself staying up late or simply running out of time period.
3) It’s easier to make excuses to put it off
As the day rolls on you can accumulate excuses not to do the tough stuff. Exercise is famous for this one. You decide to go to the gym after work. It’s been the day from hell at work and coworkers decide to have a beer after. You’ll go after one beer. Nope. Too tired now and you need one more beer anyway.
4) People can talk you out of it
If you don’t do the tough stuff first other people have the opportunity to talk you out of it. This is sabotage. Your drive to get it done makes them think they look bad so they do everything they can think of to get you to do what they are doing- nothing. Everybody has at least one friend that finds a way to bring them down.
5) You don’t get the high
There’s a certain kind of euphoria that comes with getting things done right away. You float a bit for the rest of the day knowing that everything from here on is the easy stuff. If you don’t get the tough stuff done first you lose that feeling. Even if you get it done by the end of the day, the victory simply isn’t as sweet.