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There are only 24 hrs in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.
Sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. In the morning, tackle them one by one in order of importance.
Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.
In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray.
When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance.
We’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest tasks– leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.
Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:
You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job.
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Routines are boring, but efficient. I love them because of it.
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