When It Comes to Productivity, First is the Worst

By Chelsea Babin

At the beginning of every workday, you’re carrying the weight of every task you need to accomplish on your shoulders. Making a to-do list at the end of each work day can certainly help improve your productivity the next day, but sometimes it will have the reverse effect. Why? Some days you’re unaware of the weight of your to-do list slowing you down but other days it takes all of the effort you can muster just to get out of bed in the morning because you know what you have to get done that day and you don’t want to do it.

The task you want to do the least or the task that is the most cumbersome is usually the heaviest task on your shoulders. Its large weight can certainly be felt and, if you were to get rid of it first thing in the day, your productivity could get a turbo boost!

Acclaimed American author Mark Twain once said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you think of your heaviest, most dreadful task as a frog, suddenly the benefits of tackling it at the beginning of the day become clear. When you get your heaviest task out of the way, all of your lighter weight tasks will seem easier and more fun by comparison. You’re setting yourself up to have a productive morning that won’t necessarily be enjoyable but will set up the rest of your day to be more fun and just as productive.

What happens when a car is filled to capacity with heavy stuff? It drives much slower and wastes more energy getting where it needs to be. Think of your heaviest task of the day as a third of the car’s load and you’ll understand why it feels like your productivity is turbo boosted after you’ve left that weight behind you. You’ll move faster through other tasks because you have momentum from a more challenging, less enjoyable to-do applied to all of your other daily tasks. Before you know it you’ll be flying through your daily tasks and racing towards the finish line!

If you want your workday to be more productive, you can’t start the day by pushing off big, heavy tasks that need to be done in favor of doing lighter ones. This will keep more weight on your shoulders throughout the day and make you fatigued, unmotivated, and sluggish. Instead, make the first thing you do each day the worst thing on your task list so that, by comparison, the rest of your day is a great improvement. This will motivate you, speed u your productivity and help you be more successful at work.