Where to Begin When You Have a Long List of Tasks…

Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves. Dale Carnegie. 

If you are like me there are seasons when my list of things to do seems to be never ending. If I am honest, there are times when I can get a little overwhelmed as scroll through my task list trying to decide what needs to be done. What about you? Ever get overwhelmed?

To do list

A few years ago I read a great little book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. The book is full of 21 great ways to be more productive and efficient. However, there is one nugget of wisdom that has changed the way I get things done in my ministry and home life…

What I used to do: When faced with a long task of things to do, there is a tendency to tackle the easiest ones first and try to check off a number of tasks quickly and easily. You would think that a few easy wins would build momentum and give you the enthusiasm to tackle the tougher tasks right? Wrong! Waiting to tackle the hardest tasks later becomes a form of procrastination of priorities and ultimately leaves the harder tasks hanging over us. Psychologically speaking, it can easily cause us to stump our enthusiasm and slow our productivity. Here’s what an excerpt of the book says:

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. Using ‘eat that frog’ as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life. 

In other words, once you have tackled the most challenging task of the day, all the other tasks seem easier and more attainable to accomplish. As a leader, I find this to be so true. It’s so essential that I devote my time to the tasks that will impact my ministry the most and bring the greatest return. These are often the most challenging and perplexing tasks however. But ultimately, a leader who tackles the most challenging tasks each day will him or herself a cut above the leaders who are quickly checking off the easy tasks each day.

What is your greatest priority today? What have you been putting off that you need to tackle today? What is the biggest ugliest ‘frog’ you can eat today that will make all the other tasks seem easy? 

Phil <><

photo credit: vvvracer via photopin cc

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