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« Listen to Your Heart | Main | An Easy Challenge Revisited »

Little and Often!

Have you ever had the following scenario happen to you? You are given large task with a deadline several weeks off. Maybe it’s to write a report or an essay. Because you don’t have to do it immediately and of course you have loads of work already, you put it off “for now”. And before you know it, you wake up one morning to the fact that the deadline is almost upon you and you have to get the task done as an emergency.

Many people have a tendency to lurch from emergency to emergency. But how many of their “emergencies” are genuinely urgent and how many owe their urgency to the fact that they have been left till the last minute as in this scenario? If we could deal with things on time so that the only emergencies we have are genuine ones, wouldn’t we find it a lot easier to control our work?

When you are given a task which doesn’t need to be done immediately, don’t put it off. You will do far better to start work on it as soon as possible and to do some work on it daily. Resolve to make full use of all the time you have before the deadline instead of putting it off till the last minute. This way you will be giving yourself time to work on the subject in a way which allows your brain to develop it at its own best pace. You will find that the project is much more easily completed this way.

This is the way our minds like working. It’s also when you think of it the way that our bodies like to work too. If you want to get fit, you know that the best way is regular exercise at least three times a week. Occasional huge bursts of exercise achieve very little, and can even be dangerous.


What I’m suggesting in this exercise is that you do exactly the opposite of what most people instinctively do. We tend to work on the project with the shortest deadline, the one that appears to be the most urgent. Here I’m asking you to do the exact opposite.

Make a list of all the current projects you have with their deadlines. Take the one with the most distant deadline and start doing some work on it every day. You may be surprised at how quickly it gets done. How will you feel when you finish it ages before the deadline with no rush and no crisis?

Now start on the project with the next longest deadline. What would happen if you did this with every project? Would you be much less stressed than you are now?

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