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The Productive Solopreneur – Slay Your Dragon
Welcome back to the Productive Solopreneur Series. In the last video, we went over why the only way to be more productive is to remove your distractions.
We went over five ways to destroy your distractions, including what to do with social media, how to plan properly, and why it can’t all be work.
In this video, we are moving closer to productivity with Key #4 Slay Your Dragons
Slay Your Dragon
The final key we will focus on is prioritizing your day. While it’s easy to start the day with seemingly low-hanging fruit, like email, the most productive solopreneurs focus on getting their most important tasks done first.
Experts often recommend that you slay your dragon (your hardest task) first.
Mark Twain famously said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
In other words, tackle your hardest tasks before you do anything else.
But What Does the Science Say About Prioritizing?
How does this theory stack up? Does it actually make sense to do the difficult things first?
In 2017, Harvard Business School released a research paper called Task Selection and Workload: A Focus on Completing Easy Tasks Hurts Long-Term Performance.
The study discussed in the research was conducted in an emergency department in a metro hospital. They…” assembled [their] data from the emergency department for twenty-four months in fiscal years 2006-2007 involving over 90,000 distinct patient encounters.”
The study was meant to find out how starting with easier tasks vs. more difficult tasks might affect productivity.
The study concluded that completing easier tasks does create a short-term sense of satisfaction, but it can negatively impact long-term productivity.
The paper explains:
“By selecting the easier task (exploitation), an individual gets work done quicker – and likely feels good doing it. However, by choosing the harder task (exploration), one creates an opportunity to learn. Although always selecting the harder task may be suboptimal, if one continually chooses the exploitation path, then longer-term performance suffers.”
That means a short-term victory might feel good at the moment. It makes a person feel productive when they accomplish something.
However, because they are not pushing themselves to overcome the harder tasks, they’re actually limiting their own potential.
Not only that, but the study found that the physicians who habitually chose the easier tasks first were less profitable to the hospital in the long run. Fascinating, right?
Put Your Plan into Action
Only you know what your most complicated or difficult tasks are but do your best to take on those ones first. Knock them out first thing in the morning when you’re fresh and at your strongest.
Even if your difficult tasks don’t take you the longest time, they’re going to take a lot more mental effort.
As the day goes on, your ability to focus diminishes. Your willpower may fall apart, and you’ll want to avoid your difficult work and put it off until the next day.
If you choose your most difficult jobs first, you’ll be able to finish the day up with your more simple work. That feeling of productivity from easy tasks will help catapult you into the next day when you’re ready to slay those dragons yet again.
In the next video in the series, we’ll wrap up this battle for productivity.
The Productive Entrepreneur Series
Slay Your Dragons <- YOU ARE HERE
About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.
Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.
What do you think? Let's talk! Leave a comment.
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