Do The Thing You Don’t Want to Do First

Every day you get up there will be things you don’t want to do. It might be that you don’t want to go to school or work. It might be that you don’t want to pay your taxes. It might be that you don’t want to do the dishes. It might be that you don’t want to be responsible for something. Etc.

I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about the things that you’re avoiding because you don’t want to do them. For example:

  • Having a difficult conversation with your spouse or friend (or parent)
  • Needing to apologize for something you’ve done
  • Having to call HR to talk through a benefits problem
  • Actually paying your bills on time
  • Following up on a late payment
  • Asking someone to help you with something you’re embarrassed that you can’t figure out on your own
  • Making a call on a potential customer
  • Making a decision
  • Creating a budget (or plan :-)
  • Choosing where to invest your money
  • Learning a new skill
  • Fixing something (at your home) that needs to be fixed (or updated)
  • Seeing a doctor about a problem/pain you’re experiencing
  • Cleaning your desk

Virtually every day there’s at least one thing that looms over your head that you don’t want to do. And unfortunately, avoiding it doesn’t solve the problem (the tension is still there, the papers don’t move themselves, the pain still exists, etc.).

However, what’s frequently worse (and forgotten), is the amount of negative, psychic energy you waste by trying to put it off. For example, let’s say you know you need to have a difficult conversation with your spouse. Rather than having the conversation, you choose to put it off. What happens to your productivity for the rest of the day? Exactly, it’s hindered. Why? Because you’re thinking about (and dreading) having that conversation all day long (or days or weeks long). This is a total waste of emotional energy and productivity.

Instead, do the bold thing. Do the thing you don’t want to do first. If you’re at work and you have 20 items on your to do list, it’s easy to rationalize and avoid doing the thing you don’t want to do. But that’s foolish. Instead, do the thing you don’t want to do first. Get it out of the way. That way you’ll feel better about you, you’ll be more productive the rest of the day, you’ll probably discover that the thing you were dreading wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be, and you’ll have conquered a fear.

So, don’t waste your time and emotional energy avoiding doing something you don’t want to do. Do it first (or as soon as possible) and you’ll reap the benefits of having that thing in the past and not in your future.

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