just start The busier we are, the more we think about how busy we are.
  • “What should I do next? Wow, this list is long.”
  • “Is this what I should be doing right now?”
  • “Aaaah, I’m so busy!”

Thinking steals time from working. Now we’re even busier.

This is a problem.

Order Matters Less Than You Think

You have a to-do list of some kind, I’m assuming. If not, quickly make one.

Scan it.

Is anything on fire? (If it’s important and due immediately, it’s on fire.)

No, nothing’s on fire.”

Then just start.

Start anywhere. Take no prisoners. Hear no cries for mercy.

No rationalizing. No bargaining. Just start.

“Yes, something’s on fire! Hot, hot, hot!"

Your work is cut out for you, then. In a way, this is less stressful: no decisions to make.

Are you making a presentation to the board at 3 pm today? Everything else can wait. Polish the presentation.

What About Doing The Important Thing First?

We need multiple approaches. Our default strategy should certainly be to do the most important thing first. We should especially try to begin the day this way.

But sometimes, there is no clear “most important thing.” Your whole list is kinda important. And you have to mop up the kinda important things from time to time.

Results

Here’s what you will find when you just start:

You will be unsure at first. Then you will build momentum.

You will dispatch tasks that have been nagging you for days. Or weeks. Or months.

Most tasks take less than 10 minutes, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you act.

There’s a time to think and a time to act. When it’s time to think, think. When it’s time to act, act.

Just start.