Operate by Priority, Not Urgency
It seems to be the default for most us to order our tasks in terms of simplicity and quickness. For those who do not put much time investment into determining the most efficient ways to get things done, it makes sense to do the quickest and easiest things first and work your way down. You get to feel a sense of accomplishment faster and perhaps tick more boxes off the list than you would have if you had started with the more time-consuming things.
Most of the time, this means that we're completing less important tasks, commonly known as 'busy work'. When we focus on busy work, it also usually means that we're procrastinating doing something else that is probably more important.
The thing about these time-waster tasks is that because they are much smaller, they are also re-created much quicker than our important tasks. That is to say, even if I knock 5 of 8 things off my to-do list today seemingly leaving only 3 for tomorrow, we will often find even more easy busy work the following day, further delaying our last 3 tasks that are actually more important.
Even though we like to feel as though these tasks share an equal importance, we are lying to ourselves. We are operating out of 'urgency' rather than 'prioritizing'.
When we operate out of priority, we recognize the fact that these smaller tasks can wait and doing things like making sure we actually get to the gym today is more important than spontaneously deciding to clean our whole home.
You will also find when operating out of priority that you may get 'less' done during your day, however the things you did do held significantly higher importance and had a greater positive impact on your life/work.
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