Do the Hardest Thing First

A businesswoman checks off items on her to-do list.
Practical advice for getting things done from local media maven Natalie Webster.

Many of us don’t think twice about helping a friend in need. We lend an ear, while adding our own words of wisdom. Raising children is a constant exercise in guidance. I’ve raised three into adulthood and have two more at home. Whether they wanted my advice or not, they got it.

I’ve spent a few decades helping my kids with homework and projects. One piece of consistent advice I’ve given to them is to do the hard thing first. Get it out of the way. Tackle the project or math sheet that you are dreading first, then the rest. (This isn’t original advice—I’ve heard it before, too.)

Recently, I was helping one of the younger kids organize himself to tackle a few assignments, and I realized I hadn’t been following my own advice. Lately, I would often put off the harder project, at home or at work. It was time to push myself out of my comfort zone and take my own advice.

I started to tackle the hard project first. The household chore I was dreading or the project for work that kept me up at night. Do you know what happened? It totally worked. I started getting more done, more effectively. Challenges became less challenging and my stress level came down as well.

My challenge to you this month is to take a look at where you might not be following your own advice, and see what happens. 

Local media maven Natalie Webster specializes in experiences that often push her outside of her comfort zone, and helps others stretch themselves, too.