“The order in which you do things is important” sounds like a statement of the blindingly obvious - and it is. But the fact that it’s a statement of the obvious doesn’t necessarily mean that we remember to apply it when we need to. One area in which it particularly tends to be forgotten is setting up the beginning of your day. This is significant because he beginning of your day is a key point because it’s then that the sort of day you are going to have is decided. If you get off to a rocky start the rest of your day will be disjointed. On the other hand a good start-up routine will give you a firm highway for the day.
Many people start the day by clearing the small items first and then working up to the more weighty matters. Unfortunately the small items have a habit of extending themselves over most of the day. The result is that oft repeated phrase “It’s four o’clock already and I haven’t done a thing!”
We tend to fall into a routine at the start of the day without really noticing it. Like all routines it needs to be examined with the aim of improving it. Do this especially if you are finding that you are reaching the end of the day without doing the things which you intended to do. The beauty of a no-list system is that you can examine the evidence easily because it shows you exactly what you have done and the order you in which you did it - something which a conventional to do list doesn’t do.
Here are some of the mistakes that people who work from home often make (I speak from experience):
Not getting up at the same time every day. You can’t develop a steady routine if you have no firm base from which to start.
Leaving breakfast until after you’ve cleared routine minor tasks. The usual result is that breakfast and lunch merge together and the morning is frittered away on minor stuff.
Not making the most important thing you have to do the first task. This is the best way to ensure that the most important thing you have to do doesn’t get done.
Doing the short easy tasks first and the longer more difficult ones last. Short easy tasks have a habit of expanding to fill the whole day.
If you are an office worker the first two don’t apply so much, but the last two do.
The most important part of auditing your routine is “Look at the first task”. If you get that right, the rest will naturally follow. A good rule of thumb is that the more time you need to spend on something the earlier you should get it on your list.