Late Friday morning, our Internet connection bit the dust. A tree in the forest behind our house decided it no longer had the will to live and fell over, uprooting and destroying our FiOS line with it.
Conveniently, the tree fell minutes after I had finished my “must complete these tasks or lose my job” items on my to-do list. I had a lot of work left to do in the day, but all of it could wait until the connection was re-established or until I made it to the local coffee shop that has free WiFi.
While I was driving to the coffee shop, I thought about how getting the most important work out of the way first saved me a great deal of frustration. Had I put off the most important work, I would have been angry and stressed and worked into a frenzy about nature simply being nature. Instead, I was more entertained than anything else. A dead tree took out my connection — possibly the best reason ever for losing service.
I structure my day by doing the most important tasks first. This means I sit down at my computer and start writing before checking e-mail, Twitter, voice mail, or even comments on Unclutterer. If I’m at my desk at 6:00 a.m., I won’t get to the other tasks until usually 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. These other activities are a reward for getting through the high priority assignments.
When I leave work at the end of the day, I’ll often open up the most important task for the following day and place it at the center of my screen. (I learned this tip from Glen Stansberry, I would like to note.) Then, when I sit down to work in the morning, I can immediately start on what I need to do.
How do you structure your work day? Do you get your most important tasks completed first thing in the morning? Or, do you procrastinate and put off the hard work hoping that maybe it will just go away? Tell us how you structure your work and what works best for you in the comments.