Ever not been able to cross off everything on your to-do list at the end of the day? I’m willing to bet you anything that the phrases “I’m too busy”, “There is no time” and “It’s too late for that now” has crossed your mind time and time again.
Taking a step back let us identify our daily important tasks as “big picture goals”. The majority of us willingly choose to first focus on non-important goals (or “little picture goals”) and activities that take up most of our time and save the big picture goals for last.
Evidently, the problem here is procrastination.
The more you push the big picture goals to the end of your to-do list, the more and more likely you’ll find a way to not face them. Some people suggest that finishing the little picture goals first builds confidence. But think about it again this way: The big picture goals require the most attention and energy from you, saving them until the end means you’ll be strained for time towards the end of your day and attacking it when you have the least amount of energy. Ultimately, you’re building up more stress and not accomplishing your goals.
Attacking the big picture goals first drives your motivation level to new peaks because you’re accomplishing tasks with true urgency and impact–challenging yourself to face the lion early. Having fought the fight you did early in the day, accomplishing the little picture goals later on in your day will come at more ease. Best yet, you’ll be way more likely to cross off everything on that to-do list.
Still not enough time you say? Look, by already having fulfilled your big picture goals you’ll have maximized the use of your time and feel much more accomplished. Sometimes it isn’t always about getting through the to-do list in its entirety but rather, optimizing your strategy to make the greatest impact on the results. So give yourself a pat on the back for addressing the big elephant in the room.
Now don’t just sit there, take advantage of the benefits prioritizing your big picture goals will bring you. Take a minute right now to write down your morning goal for tomorrow. This could be the 5k run you used to do every morning but now “cannot find time for” because of school or getting your pre-lecture readings done for class that just “puts you to sleep” at the end day.
Completing big picture goals first thing in the morning is the foundation for building motivation throughout the rest of your day. Carefully select important tasks that will require more of your attention to complete because of its difficulty and make an effort to write it down and commit to it even if it’s the one thing you do that day. Prioritizing tasks is breakfast for the mind; you’ll start off strong and finish off stronger. Give it a shot and you’ll realize how great it feels to be carefree for rest of your day.