Learn to Do First Things First

Everyone acknowledges the need to do first things first, but when faced with hard jobs or ones that we find unpleasant it is so easy to just put it off a little longer! Somehow we need to learn how to stop procrastinating and get the work done.

Do First Things No Matter What

All jobs are hard jobs. No matter what, there are always a few parts of any job that we would just as soon not have to deal with. If nothing else, the IRS sees to that! (There may be someone who enjoys their bookkeeping for the IRS, but I haven’t met them yet.)

How can we deal with these less exciting parts of our work without letting it become a drag? In this article I want to give you a couple of ideas and suggest how to change your attitude toward unpleasant tasks.

To do first things first most often means to get the most important jobs done first, but sometimes it just means to get the hard jobs done first. To stop procrastination often means getting something that blocks our focus out of the way so we can get on with more pleasant work.

To Do First Things First, Eat that Frog

As much as possible get the drudgery out of the way first. One of my favorite authors, Brian Tracy, wrote a little book called Eat that Frog! It answers the question, “What is the best way to eat a frog?” And the answer is, “As quickly as possible.”

The idea is to face any unpleasant but necessary task as soon as possible and get it over with. This is a terrific idea, and a great little book. One of the best ways to keep an unpleasant job from dragging you down is to get it over with as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to stop procrastinating and begin to do first things first is to make it a positive, even fun way to deal with hard jobs. Say out loud, “Eat that frog, eat that frog, eat that frog!” and attack the job with a vengeance.

Reward Yourself When You Do

Another suggestion is illustrated by a comment from Jessica Sprague posted on alistapart.com. This is what she wrote:

“I get the big, bad thing out of the way first—even to the point of bribing myself with chocolate or an iTunes download. I can be bought.”

In other words, reward yourself for completing the job. This is a great idea for any task, but especially helpful when completing a job you didn’t really look forward to in the first place.


Of course, not all of us can afford to eat chocolate and may need to choose a reward with fewer calories! Perhaps just take a five minute break, lean back in our chair, and listen to a favorite piece of music.

Don’t Wait: Do First Things First

There are several ways we can work at developing a positive attitude about annoying tasks. Perhaps you have some unique ones of your own.

From the beginning the most important thing we can do is to associate an undesirable job as only a small part of a bigger, more positive accomplishment. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to throw in an occasional piece of chocolate.

In any case, learning to “eat that frog” and get those hard jobs out of the way is one key to our financial success. Hopefully these suggestions will help you learn to stop procrastinating and do first things first in your own life.