Do the hardest thing first

001578_WEIGHTLIFTINGcolor What's the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk in the
morning? If you are like most people, it's fire up your email and get
to work on the priorities it dictates.

Tomorrow, I'd like to
suggest you do something different. Before you open your email client
(and let's face it, you probably scanned email when you woke up anyway,
right?), look at your To Do list and do the most-important, most-complex and nastiest thing on there. Brian Tracy calls this Eating Your Frog,
based on the Mark Twain saying "Eat a live frog every morning, and
nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." Steven Covey
calls it doing First Things First.

Depending on the task, this will mean that by about 9.00am you will have nailed one of your Must Dos. You should have about 3-5 of these each day. And it'll have been the thorniest, most-urgent one. Probably one of the 20% which makes 80% of the difference.
You'll feel a sense of accomplishment and start the day with forward
momentum, while most others are still wading through email triage. It
also means you are tackling the most-demanding issues when you have the
most energy and focus. This yields better results compared to
procrastinating and leaving all the tough issues to the end of day.

you make a habit of this, you will a) make sure you check off all those
important tasks which only you can do, b) do them better, c) start to
break your email addiction and d) be in control of your Must Dos rather
than acting on whatever seems to be on fire at the start of the day.

That's got to be better than tackling your Inbox.