Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

First things first…

Do first what you don’t want to do most.

Back Story

There are two common schools of thought regarding how to best tackle a series of tasks of varying difficulty and/or appeal:

1) Start with something easy (or something you look forward to doing—whether difficult or not) to overcome any initial barrier to progress, then build towards the difficult and/or unappealing tasks.

2) Start with the most difficult and/or unappealing task. Once this task is completed, everything else will be a relative breeze to perform, and (presumably) will be possible to complete more quickly and with less stress.

Of the above options, I have found that only the second approach works for me. This is because putting off difficult things only serves to make them even more daunting in our minds (and thus difficult to start). At least in my own experience, getting the tough stuff out of the way first leads toward a more predictable completion of all tasks, whereas the opposite strategy leads to a more uncertain result. Why? Because in delaying the difficult task, that final “mountain” you must climb grows higher with each procrastinated moment, whereas the other “mountains” stay exactly the same.

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