We’re always finding new ways to increase our productivity at our jobs. Because the only way to succeed is by being productive, right? So we drink cups of coffee throughout the day, make countless to-do lists, and avoid talking to our co-workers until our tasks are done.
But being productive does not mean getting more done in a day. Tony Schwartz, the CEO of The Energy Project, believes that productivity is focusing on spending the part of your day when you have the most energy completing important tasks. He isn’t the only one – many other successful people think the same way.
The first thing Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway did each morning was to start writing.
So you want to make better use of your days? Here is one productivity habit you should pick up right now:
Do the most important task first each morning.
The American Psychological Association published a study that showed that willpower may deplete the more you use it. So if we were to look at it like the battery of a mobile phone, our willpower will be a full bar when we wake up in the morning. That means we have the most energy to tackle important tasks.
Another way to look at the effectiveness of this productivity strategy is to look at a typical day in the office. How often do you find yourself unable to check off tasks on your to-do list because your boss or co-workers need you to do something more urgent? And how often do you complete most of your tasks but never got around to finishing the most important one of all?
We seem to confuse urgency with importance – what is urgent is seldom important. Doing the most important thing first each day helps you avoid getting interrupted with more urgent matters. And at the end of the day, you might not have checked off everything on your to-do list but you would have done the most important task.
But what if you’re not a morning person? As long as you can find a period in the day where your energy level is at its highest and use it as a sacred time for you to work on your important task, you’ll be good to go.
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