My Favorite Productivity Tip

I don’t know what the best tip is to increase your productivity but here’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s my favorite not just because it helps me to get more things done but also because it’s very simple, a great way to brighten your mood and to build an awesome day.

Plus, you can apply the same tip in other areas of your life too. And use it to build confidence in your own abilities, raise your self-esteem and face small or big fears.

What is it?

Start each day with doing the hardest/ most important/ most uncomfortable thing first.

That’s it.

Maybe you have an important call to make that you also fear might be uncomfortable. Maybe you know you have gotten behind on answering your emails and have big pile to dig into. Maybe you have the last five pages of your paper to finish. It’s often something that is hard to do and also kinda unpleasant.

Whatever it may be, get it out of your way the first thing you do. If you don’t then you may build it up more and more in your head and a call that you may be reluctant to do now grows into this big nightmare in your mind where your boss yells at you and everything is just terrible.

If you let it go so far then it’s also easy to wind up in place where you just put off for tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. As you walk around with vague negative feelings hanging like a gloomy raincloud over your head.

On the other hand, if you start your day by doing it you will feel relieved. You feel relaxed and good about yourself. And the rest of the day – and your to-do list – tends to feel a lot lighter and easier to move through. It’s amazing what difference this one action makes.

You can use this “get a good start to your day” tip a bit similarly in other areas of your life too. Besides using it to increase your productivity you can also use it to:

  • Improve your social mood. If you start your day by feeling social then you’ll feel like being consistent with that for the rest of the day. If you start out by being closed off and feeling guarded then it becomes harder and harder to break out of that shell as your day progresses. You can get yourself off to a good start by for instance assuming rapport. This means that just before a meeting, you just think that you’ll be meeting a good friend. Then you’ll naturally slip into a more comfortable, confident and enjoyable emotional state and frame of mind. This works surprisingly well even if you don’t feel that social in the morning.
  • Increase your energy levels. If you work out early in the day you’ll feel energized for the rest of the day. This can be crucial on days when you feel tired and zombie-like.

What you do early in the day often sets the context for your day. In our minds we have a tendency to want to be consistent with what we have done before. Use that to your advantage. Access the best parts of yourself by starting your day in a better way.

Try this tip out for a week and see how much this simple little thing can improve your life right now.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Henrik,

    I follow this philosophy too. I learned it when I was school. When I used to come home from school. I would get started on my homework right away so that I could enjoy the rest of the evening. I have found as an adult this method still works! Great tip! :)

  • I do apply the same strategy daily. Tackling the most dreaded task first thing really help boost my productivity the rest of the day.

    The only thing is if that dreaded task can result to something that could ruin the day ultimately, in any case that rarely happens anyway. And if it does happen.. at least I have the whole day to rectify the problem.

  • This is a very useful tip, I wrote about it myself a while back, though in a less articulate fashion :) It’s all about setting the right tone for the day. I will often struggle straight out of bed to do the worst task on my to-do list. Don’t make a cup of tea or browse through your inbox!

  • Henrick,

    Great tip! I love this one but I know there are times when the most unpleasant task for the day can be something that takes quite a while which can be daunting. In those situations, I take on something a little easier and quick to finish. Once I get that done (and I’m talking about doing something productive that will move me forwards towards my goals and not just wasting time on a trivial task), I start to feel better about myself, better about the day ahead and start to build some momentum which allows me to tackle some of my bigger tasks for the day.

    Sometimes having this little “work-around” allows me to get moving when I’m feeling exceptionally lazy. After all the toughest part is often just to start and get moving.

    Cheers, Niro

  • Linh P Pham

    Great tip, Henrik.
    It has become my fav productivity tip too.
    Thank you.

  • mathemichi

    Nice tip.

    I am starting work at morning for a few years now but didn’t try to assign this to other areas of my life yet – I will now!

    Thank you.