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05 Jun

Kick-start your day with a few quick tasks


Datum: 2017-06-05 12:02

So, how should we go about this? Should we eat the frog” and do the worst task of the day first thing in the morn­ing, or should we start the day off with a few small and easy tasks? That is still a bone of con­tention. I get the ques­tion often, and there is even a book sug­gest­ing you go with the first alter­na­tive.

How­ev­er, we seem to be approach­ing an answer to the mat­ter. Francesca Gino at Har­vard Busi­ness School and Bradley Staats at UNC Kenan-Fla­gler Busi­ness School did a study in which they asked 500 peo­ple to write down the tasks they want­ed to accom­plish through­out their day first thing in the morn­ing for two weeks, and then tick them off as they com­plet­ed them dur­ing the day.

More moti­vat­ed and more accomplished
It turned out that the test sub­jects who were in the habit of com­plet­ing a few small, quick and sim­ple tasks before get­ting to the more chal­leng­ing and exten­sive ones, felt more moti­vat­ed than the rest, and were also the ones who felt they had got­ten the most done dur­ing their work week.

The study is not pub­lished yet, but accord­ing to the researchers it indi­cates that if we do a few small­er tasks first thing in the morn­ing, our brain releas­es a rush of dopamine as a reward which cre­ates a feed­back loop that makes us more moti­vat­ed to con­tin­ue with the more demand­ing tasks.

I would say it is well worth a try, if you have not tried it already.

Do this
If you want to see for your­self if this approach would make any dif­fer­ence to your work­day, try start­ing your days for the next week ahead with com­plet­ing two-three of the small­est tasks on your to-do-list.

I have added a third step to my morn­ing rou­tine that reminds me to get these small tasks done first to kick-start” my day.

When the week is com­ing to a close, look back at how the past days have turned out and eval­u­ate if the tip got you going faster in the morn­ings, and if the dif­fer­ence was enough for you to con­tin­ue with the method.

Get­ting dif­fi­cult tasks done easier
If Gino’s and Staat’s con­clu­sions are accu­rate, it will be eas­i­er to get those demand­ing, com­pli­cat­ed tasks we tend to pro­cras­ti­nate done if we begin by doing a few sim­ple tasks before get­ting to the big ones. We will end up with few­er things hang­ing over us, and get more things done with greater ease.

How do you get things done?
How do you ide­al­ly start your day? What do you do first thing in the morn­ing that sets the tone for the rest of the day? Feel free to share in a comment. 

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