First Things First

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“First things first.” Sounds like a great way to start your day. But what exactly does it mean?

You want to get your day off to a great start. Here are three ideas about how to figure out what the best “first thing” is for you today.

Start with Something That Builds Momentum

You can start your day with a small win that builds momentum to carry you through your day. I’ve known salesmen who always made their first call one that they were sure would result in a sale. I knew one who wrote up the order and put it in his pocket the night before. I like to start my day with something that’s quick, easy, makes progress, and builds momentum.

Eat a Frog for Breakfast

In his book, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy suggests starting your day with something that’s difficult or uncomfortable. You might make that call to explain to a client why you messed up on a project. You can eat a frog by dealing with that letter from the IRS. The frogs you eat will taste awful, but there’s an upside.

There are two big advantages to starting your day with a frog for breakfast. You’ll tackle this hard and uncomfortable task when you have the most energy and are most resilient. And, once you’ve eaten that frog for breakfast, you’ll sail through the rest of your day. Everything else will seem easy.

Start with The Most Important Thing

In their great book, Winning Well, Karin Hurt and David Dye suggest starting your day with the most important thing. They call it your “MIT.” Here’s why.

“You will be distracted. Real issues will come up. You’ll face a change of direction, your boss will need something – life happens.”

If you do the most important thing first, you’ve assured success for the day.

Remember Joe Juran’s “Law of The Vital Few.” Start your day with the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your performance. You’ll have great days, great weeks, and a great career.

Go for A Combo

Sometimes, you’ll want to start your day with a combo. It may be that the most important thing to do that day is also a frog you have to eat. Get it done.

I start most days this way. First, I do something easy to build momentum. Then, I tackle my most important thing for the day. When that’s done, I move on.

Bottom Line

“First things first” can mean a lot of things. Pick the thing that is most relevant for you right now. Then, do your best first thing first.

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