What’s the first thing you choose to do each day? And what are the second and the third? I don’t mean using the bathroom or brushing your teeth. I mean things you do that not everybody else does. Perhaps you check your phone or you cuddle with your spouse. Maybe, like my grandma, you spend a few minutes on gymnastics to keep your body healthy.
After much experimentation with structuring my days, I realized that the tasks I choose to do early in the morning are the ones I’ll get done almost every day. Sometimes I get to other things I want to do later in the day, but too often I don’t. Knowing this about myself, the most sensible structure of my day is to do the most important things in the mornings. For instance, it is important to me that I get enough sleep, so I structured my mornings so that I can sleep in. I’d like to gain some weight, so after waking up the first thing I do is preparing and eating a healthy breakfast. Then I move on to various mental and physical exercises. Some days, I then spend some time writing.
It might sound tedious to have such a routine. Perhaps some would be bored starting each day in the same way. What’s the alternative, though? If you want to make sure you get around to what’s most important to you, each day you either have to do it first or you have to get to it later. I suspect many people are like in me in that they don’t have the discipline to get to the most important things later. For instance, if you don’t sleep in, will you go to bed earlier in the evening? I find it incredibly difficult to go to bed earlier. There are so many fun little things to do in the evenings, whether it’s playing with my phone or watching a tv show with my girlfriend.
So try doing what’s most important to you early on in your day, preferably first thing in the morning. It won’t always work, because there are things you can only do at certain times of day, especially if they involve other people. But try to start your day with those activities you can do alone that you really want to do every day. If that means you’ll need to get up earlier, then get up earlier! Just go to sleep earlier, too.
I’m betting that if you get around to the most important things early on, you won’t even notice that you’ll have a little less time left in the rest of your day. Just like life becomes easier when you get enough sleep, your days will become easier when you don’t have to worry about finding time for important things later.
Want to get more done in less time?
Every day, I write about the tools and mindset that can help you work smarter, not harder. Because being productive shouldn’t require 60-hour work weeks.
Leave your email address to get my daily message right in your inbox.