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Scheduling: Get the Most Painful Tasks Completed First

by Nick Usborne

 

If you look at your "things to do" list, chances are there are a couple of things you are not looking forward to doing.

 

Maybe chasing an overdue invoice, following up on a job that isn't going so well, doing some administrative paperwork, sending in your tax forms, firing a client...it could be anything.

 

And then there are items on the list you are looking forward to doing.

 

The temptation, of course, is to jump into doing the things you feel like doing, and putting off the other tasks until tomorrow.

 

There are two problems with putting off the painful tasks.

 

1. These are probably things you really should get done

 

In my experience, the tasks that I keep putting off are things I really should get done. Sometimes they are boring, like paperwork. Sometimes there is some kind of conflict involved, and I'd just rather not.

 

But most of the time, these are things that need to be addressed in a timely manner. The longer you put them off, the bigger the problem becomes.

 

2. Avoiding painful tasks impacts everything else

 

This is, in my view, the more important issue.

 

When you put certain tasks to one side and continually procrastinate, that act of procrastination creates a drag on everything else you do, even the enjoyable tasks.

 

There is always this shadow in your mind, the knowledge that there are other things you should get done.

 

Even if not present in your conscious mind, knowing you have unpleasant or boring tasks you have been putting off will create a negative cloud in your subconscious mind.

 

It took me some years before I became aware of this.

 

To become aware of it yourself, put aside some time to complete one of those tasks you have been putting off, and then feel the difference inside yourself once you have finished. It is like a cloud has lifted, a shadow has passed.

 

Start now

 

When you allow procrastination to creep into your work life, it can only have a negative effect.

 

Perhaps put aside a whole day or half day to get ALL of those tasks out of the way. Or set yourself a schedule where you place one task at the top of your list every day until they are all gone.

 

Then get into the habit of recognizing tasks you tend to avoid, and pounce on them as quickly as possible.

 

When you do that, it has a wonderful effect on your internal energy and attitude.

 

You'll feel great about getting the painful tasks out of the way as quickly as possible.

 

And you will then be able to tackle all the more pleasurable tasks of the day without the drag, shadow or cloud of the painful stuff pulling you down.

 

NOTE: To increase your productivity as a writer, follow the 5 rituals I lay out in my guide for writers, Writing Rituals. Learn more at the Writing Rituals web site...

 

 

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Nick Usborne's Million Dollar Secrets to Online Copywriting

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Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

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