Hardest Thing First

You should always start by doing the most difficult thing first. Our tendency is to start with the easy tasks within the project. We think that it will be nice to get some of the easy things out of the way, and then we can buckle down to the hard things. Unfortunately, like Stephen Covey’s big rocks example, if we only work on the small and easy things, we end up lacking the capacity to deal with the most important things. 

But what happens when you start with the hardest things first. Here’s how your picture changes: 

  1. If you solve the most difficult problems, everything after that is easy. You won’t run out of time because you can’t do something because you will have front-loaded the difficult work had extreme learning. 
  2. You will be fresher and more energetic when solving the hard problems. If you start with a bunch of easy tasks you’ll end up tired and worn out before you get to the most important work. 
  3. You’ll be able to delegate the easier tasks. Most likely you are paid to do hard work. If you all that is left after you begin is easier work, it becomes simple to hand it off and focus on more interesting and impactful problems. 

Start by doing hard things. You’ll be glad you did. 

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