Sunday, November 28, 2010

Work Basics: Do the Hard Stuff First!

I am always looking for ways to make life simpler. Be it the latest app or template, there are many ways to prioritize daily to-do’s. As management consultant (and mother of two) who works from home, I have no shortage of daily to-do’s. The challenge is to keep my work and home life somewhat separate even though they literally merge.

When I started working from home, I would have a conference call and then put in a load of laundry, work on a client deliverable, then start my dinner,etc. Sounds like a great balance but the reality of it was that I found myself working on my consulting projects well after my family was tucked away in bed. Though I was no longer on the road like I was when I worked for a huge consulting firm, I was still exhausted. I had to figure out how to become more efficient.

Then one day while in a meeting, one of my professional colleagues mentioned that he got through the more tedious aspects of his job by “doing the hard thing first”. Talk about an “aha” moment! I realized that my exhaustion and lack of productivity during the day was because I was tackling the easy and familiar tasks and leaving the more difficult ones closer to the deadlines.

The very next day, I did the task I dreaded the most first. The remainder of the day was easier, more relaxed and overall, more productive. So, my conclusion is that no matter how many apps I have on my smart phone or how cute my to-lists look posted on my magnetic whiteboard, it is up to me to “get it done” and doing the hard thing first is the best way to start my day!

How do you make sure you make the most of each day?

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