Last week, my husband and I took our girls on a much needed family getaway to the Oregon Coast. Visiting during rainy season means you book an idyllic condo on the beach for a killer deal. It also means that you chase waves in five layers of clothes with a beanie and rain boots, rather than shorts and flip-flops. Our girls didn't mind it one bit though and splashed in the puddles for hours.
One of my favorite things to do on vacations is explore the area by foot via morning runs - I've explored Central Park in NYC, cruised along the Seine in Paris, jogged up and down the National Mall in D.C., run along the Baltic Sea in Poland, and gotten lost around scenic lakes in Minnesota. It makes me feel like a local, rather than a tourist.
Running along the beach in Seaside was no joke. I was greeted by 25 mph winds plus gigantic rain drops that felt like pellets on my face - not quite the pleasant, oceanside runs I had anticipated. Each morning, I intentionally ran against the wind for the first half to get the hardest part out of the way. I counted the minutes until I could turn around to let the wind push me home. That first half was painful, but it made the second half glorious.
It got me thinking - why don't I do the same thing with work more often? Instead of tackling the most dreaded tasks first, we often put them off, even if they are more urgent and important than our other work. And as those dreaded tasks hang over head, they cast a shadow that makes us less productive overall.
It gets worse...according to the Association for Psychological Science, people who procrastinate experience more stress, lower performance and reduced overall well-being. But alas, there is hope. With a little focus plus a helpful tool, we can dominate our to-do's. Often the most simple processes drive the greatest impact.
- IDENTIFY: Write down the tasks you need to complete.
- PRIORITIZE: Chart the tasks, using this grid (hand-write or use our tool for free - links below).
- GET TO WORK: Start with the most important & urgent tasks first. Check-off as you complete - there is something so satisfying about checking things off, am I right?! Continue to add, adjust, delete or delegate as needed.
Face that vicious head-wind early so you can turn the corner, pick up speed, and enjoy the ride. You won't regret it.
Abbey uses over a decade of talent management experience to help organizations drive business results through enhanced employee engagement. She is passionate about empowering individuals and teams to be their best. She's also a mom to two sweet girls, a wife to one good man, and a fan of running and hosting dinner parties.