Back when we were kids, most of us had chores to do around the house. Some of us had to do them in the morning, some of us had to do them in the afternoon, and some of us had to do them one weekend morning. For just about everyone, there was a common theme: do your chores first, go out to play second.
That’s the way it worked: do your chores, then have fun.
The Facts of Adulting
When we’re kids, we maintained this nutty illusion that when we grow up, everything changes. We think when we turn eighteen we become the boss of all our daily activities. We get to do whatever we want whenever we want.
Then when we get to adulthood, we realize how wrong we were.
While we’d all love to have a life where all our obligations are things we enjoy, look forward to doing, and enriching to mind, body, and soul, the hard truth is different. Most of us have daily obligations that are difficult, uninspiring, and well – just not much fun.
So, there you are. An adult. With a mile-long list of things to do. Some are small and easy; some are onerous, time-consuming, and just plain beastly. One mistake many of us make is to tackle the easy things first, thinking that knocking them out is a good plan. We think it will free up more time for the difficult and uninspiring tasks later on.
The problem with that can be summed up with an adage from weightlifting: the last five pounds are always the hardest.
There’s also a psychological cost. Lurking in the background the entire time we’re doing the easy little things is the nagging, creeping dread of the tasks to come. This creates an unnecessary drag on our energy and time.
Our process grinds along. We become inefficient, stressed, and miserable.
Do The Hardest Thing First
When I begin a project that has many moving parts, but one challenging central task, I always pick the biggest, ugliest, hairiest beast first – and I get it done. Once I finish that, everything else is a breeze. I’m on a roll, riding a high of accomplishment.
Everything seems easy, in comparison. I set them up and knock them down, one by one.
Before I know it, I’m done with my chores, and then I live my adulting dream: I get to be boss of me – just like I always thought it would be.