Do the Hard Stuff First

Coaching is fun. Marketing is not. At least for me.

I love to coach. I dislike having to make phone calls to strangers, people who may be busy doing just what they need to be doing. But if my business is to fluorish, this is just what I need to do.

You should know that right now, as I am writing this, beneath my sweatpants, I am wearing a pair of bike shorts. I sorely want to get in some more “miles” on my trainer before the weather opens up, so I’ll be better prepared for riding the hilly roads in my area once I get out there. But…

… I have also made a commitment to make a good number of these phone calls each week. And today’s the day!

So I will do that as soon as I stop writing… so I can get in a good “ride” before my appointments start in the afternoon.

Now it’s your turn.

  • What high-priority items are on your list of to-do’s that you have been putting off until you get the easier things out of the way?
  • Write them down.
  • Select just one. For today, it doesn’t matter which one.
  • If you’re reading this posting, you obviously have some time that’s not spoken for. So…
  • Close your office door. Put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, if you can.
  • Pick an amount of time to work. Start small. A half hour or hour will do.
  • Decide not to answer the phone or check your email until the time is up.
  • Pull out all your materials.
  • Set a timer to ring when you plan to stop. Use your cell phone if you don’t have another timer handy. (Hey! If you can’t figure this out in less than a minute, just use a clock.)
  • Do your thing.
  • Notice how it feels to have done what you’ve done.
  • Make another plan to continue this work.

So that’s it. Success is nothing magical. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other. (Shameless marketing message: Of course, being a coach, I’d love to help you do just that. If you would like to learn more, give me a jingle.)
And now, I have to make some phone calls. Have a great day!

-Steve Reiter
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  1. Mitch

    This is similar to Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog" concept, where he says to eat the biggest, ugliest frog first, then everything else is easy.  Problem is, at least sometimes, that big project can take some time, whereas you can make some great advances by doing a few little things that impact numerous things.  So, as I usually like to say, it's all situational.  🙂

  2. #2

    Hi Mitch – Thanks for your comment.

    I agree… it is situational.  There are times when the project that would make the most difference, in the immediate term or longer term, just will not fit easily into the available time… or, you just can’t get your head around the bigger project. Then, of course, being productive during that time is most useful.

    David Allen suggests that you always know what’s next in any project, so when you have time, you can pull out things you need to do that fit the time available.

    Sometimes, though, the reason we can’t do the big things is that we’re not completely ready.  So when we have a 2 hour block of time scheduled, we’re missing that crucial detail that would allow the project to move forward. A few examples could be: 

    • having all the materials at hand
    • having needed answers or buy-in from relevant experts or stakeholders
    • not having given advance warning to people that you will be unavailable