Doing First Things First Thing

Jul 19, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

I am sitting here, right this second, on my computer, in my house, in my bed, with my daughter, and the dogs, sharing Evernote tips with her (daughter, not the dog) so she can see how to use Evernote for her first year in college.  This is a worthwhile thing to spend time on, but, it was totally not the plan for after lunch on a Monday workday.

Actually, the plan was to do a client call at 7:30 am, and then head to the health club, get back and get ready, for my 11:30 am client.

Needless to say, I procrastinated and then didn’t have time to get to the health club, and back, in time for my next client call.  After I ate lunch with my daughter, who is leaving me in a month to go away to college, I needed to rest before going to the club.  Now she is watching a tutorial on how to use the Study Blue study app that connects to Evernote.

The problem with the whole morning is….. that the whole morning is gone ….and I didn’t do the things I most needed to do today!

The Human Condition – Distraction

I am not the only person that has this problem.  It is one of human nature.

My clients confide to me regularly a similar issue.  Being our own boss, as a small business owner, means that there may or may not be outside accountability.  Without the external accountability, we drift.  We drift to distraction after distraction.  Some may be beneficial, but rarely are the distractions efficient.

Stephen Covey nailed it with the habit of “putting first things first”.  His concept was to actually put the most important things in our life, into our schedule first.

I would take it to another extreme….because people are people.  Not only do we need to plan these important things in to our schedule first; we need to schedule them first thing.  At the beginning of the day is best.

If I get up in the morning, and start my day with the most important things, then I build momentum.  I am up and doing.  This is just as important for home as work.  Sometimes we are even worse about postponing and procrastinating on chores, or things, that need to get done personally.

Where Are You Most Productive?

I know I am more productive at my office than I am at home.  And as fun and cool as it is to have the flexibility to work from home, it just isn’t as productive.  So I have started setting my first appointments with live human beings in my office for 7:00 or 8:00 am.  That gets me up and out and going!

Flexibility On Your Terms

So what happened to the awesome flexibility of owning your own business.

You still have it.  When you start off strong in the morning and get a good 4 – 5 hours of productivity in first thing, then you have the flexibility to call it a day early or to work on less important things.

This is after you have already accomplished the most significant things!

Seriously, have you ever heard anyway say “I wish I hadn’t started so early and been so productive”?

I didn’t think so.

Reader Interactions


  1. Devin says

    This is a great post. It’s ironic that you mentioned distractions because being distracted is what brought me to this post. I was working on something and then I decided to look at TweetDeck and there you were with a topic that I couldn’t resist reading.

    I’m not working for myself full-time (yet), but even now I see the importance of getting priorities out of the way first. The day slips away sometimes!

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Devin, That’s awesome….oh wait, I don’t want to become a distraction though!! Working for yourself it becomes a 2-3 steps forward, 1 step back kind of thing. Yesterday was a step back for me, but I am back on track today. I guess we just have to make more days on track than not! I will be praying for your business!

  2. Loren Pinilis says

    Brian Tracy talked about this in “Eat That Frog” – Go ahead and get that really important stuff out of the way ASAP. For me, I need to get in a routine. If I can handle my early days, the rest of the day seems to flow much more easily.

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Loren, I will have to check out that book – catchy title! Yes, I guess I am an adrenaline junkie…I need the quick start to get me going!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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