Should You Do Your Most Important Task First Thing in the Morning?

productivity Sep 16, 2019

Many productivity experts suggest that you do your most critical task first thing in the morning.

I disagree.

Instead, my answer is maybe you should…and maybe you shouldn’t.

If the morning is your optimum time to work, then yes…do your most critical task first thing in the morning. 

But if it’s not, then my answer is no. 

Let me explain. 

Let’s say your optimum time is right after lunch. Then that’s the time you should be working on your most critical task. 

Or maybe your best time is in the evening after the kids have gone to bed and the house is quiet. Do the critical work then. Yes, at the end of the day! It’s okay!

Likewise, if your optimum time is first thing in the morning, then by all means do your critical task then.

There are plenty of people saying that if you really want to crush it every day, then you should get up at 5, 4, or 3 o’clock in the morning. I have a problem with that advice. If you’re not a morning person, if you dread the morning, if you’ve never been a morning person, if the thought of getting up early strikes fear in you, then don’t get up early. Getting up early is not a magic bullet. 

Consider this: do you know what you need to do each day? Do you intentionally plan your tomorrow the day before or the morning of? And when you do plan, do you answer the question, “what do I need to do today or tomorrow?” Because if you don’t know, then it’s going to be really difficult to know how to schedule your day. 

Let’s say you come up with your three objectives for the day (which I highly recommend). Great! Now ask yourself: “when do I think I’m going to be my best self so I can tackle the things on my schedule?” Once you determine this, plan accordingly.

I believe that your optimum time can change for two reasons: 1) how you feel (maybe you’re sick, worried, or tired) and 2) the unexpected (life happens; people drop in, you get an urgent phone call, loved ones get sick). 

Again, there’s no magic of you doing your best work in the morning if you’re an afternoon person. Similarly, if you’re a morning person then don’t delay your critical task until later in the day. It’s important for you to figure out when your best optimum time is and do your critical task then…no matter what the clock says.

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