Rules to Live By: Do the Hard Things First

I can’t say I stick to this one 100 percent of the time, but it’s definitely a deeply held belief. Given two tasks, I prefer to do the one that sucks first. It’s easy to do the fun one, spend time on stuff that is fun but doesn’t really matter, and then wind up way behind on doing the thing that did matter.

A rule of thumb I attach to this one is that you shouldn’t bother to try to stay clean when tackling a dirty job. Stick your hands in the engine oil, roll around on the grass if you need to, but just commit to getting dirty and sweaty, and then get into the job.

Another piece of this is to never accept money before you do work. Getting paid after the work is done feels good. Earned. Get paid first, and the enthusiasm for the work seems to fade fast.

Finally, I’d say that my favorite people to work with are the ones that not only subscribe to this philosophy, but once started do the work aggressively – they want to do it and get done, not wallow in complaining about how miserable the job is (though minor whining is allowed!).

One thought on “Rules to Live By: Do the Hard Things First

  1. Janice, I read something similar years ago in a novel, that in emotional decisions the harder one is usually the right one, though it’s easy to wind up with twisted logic about which direction is the tougher one!

    Totally agree on grayness, to me it’s a sign of growth and maturity when you get to the point of realizing that few things are as simple and as clear cut as we’d like. And then the step beyond that is realizing that even though there is gray, on some issues you just have to draw the line.


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