Climb the mountain not the hill

It is early, 7am and the sun already feels burning. It will be a dry and hot day. After two days of hiking we find ourselves on the third day, standing at the porch of a hut ready to go. We have two choices -to go down the hill on a long way to the nearest town and get a train home. Or climb the high peak in front of the hut. The peak is steep, there are no trees, just a massive heap of stones, but that’s why we came all the way here. We are tired and everything hurts. The backpack straps are sinking into our bruised shoulders even with the hip belts tightly buckled.

We look at each other and no one says a word. Then at the same time we make the move. The peak it is.

A thousand hills are not the same as a mountain

Every time we wake up, a similar conundrum stands in front of us. Once we get past the point of actually coming out of bed and getting on with tasks we still have a difficult decision to make. “What shall I do first?”

Obviously there are 10-20+ emails to read. All those friends on Facebook with photos of great events such as brewing a fresh cuppa and walking the dog are waiting to fill up your time. Yes, they are critical, but there’s also that 2000 words report to be written. “I’ll just”… boom, half day gone. “Well there’s not enough time for the report now, I will start fresh on it tomorrow first thing.”

Sounds familiar? I’ve been through it for the whole week, struggling to get over the procrastination and lack of motivation. Yes, I do spend time on all those things like the “Everydays” and training + who-knows-what-else, but I avoid doing the one thing I need to do (it’s not a report, but it’s similar).

A thousand hills are not the same as a mountain

No matter how many of these smaller tasks I do they will never be the same as sitting down and doing the most important one, that will have the greatest impact. It just doesn’t add up. Yes, removing every hair on the couch (left by the cat) with tweezers is important, but not critical and not now.

Do the hardest first

We so love to take the easiest way around obstacles, and doesn’t it make sense? After all, why bother going through pains, struggles and challenges? The answer is – for yourself – to grow, to build yourself into who you want to be, to get the things you want to get, because you can.

Do the hardest tasks of the day first, it has been proven to be a much more satisfying and productive approach. When you do the most challenging parts first, the day will feel longer and you would feel as if you have achieved more. Also, because you have less stress on the back of your mind to complete something urgent, you will naturally relax and enjoy more the smaller things.

Another reason to focus on the most difficult of tasks first thing is because of your energy and concentration levels. We have the highest alertness at 10am. From personal experience I have found that if I get up early, then by 10am my concentration is huge, it feels like I can consume very complex information with ease. This doesn’t last forever though – at best a few hours. So that time is extremely precious and we better use it to complete the most challenging of tasks. It is a tool and we can waste it’s usefulness as well as utilise it’s full potential.

Summary

Very often we fill our time with random attention-sucking-events and information. We say we are busy and we don’t have enough time, but when we need to get something done, we turn around and “just for a bit” do the “important” little things.

Doing a thousand of those things will not help get us where we want to be. In fact, it will contribute to more stress, less time with the people we love, less time for the things we love to do and it will push us away from where we want to be. Climbing all those little hills doesn’t add up to climbing the mountain.

There’s a lot to be gained by doing the hardest parts first. Doing it at the right time, you can do it easier as you have more energy and focus. That can leave more of the day for other tasks. It can improve your relaxation time as you wouldn’t have the sun of peace shadowed by the dark clouds of pressure.

Are you wasting time like me? Are you putting it away for later? I am challenging you and me. Lets do the hardest thing first. There are no excuses. I don’t want to be like everyone else. Even more, I don’t want to be the one postponing and dragging things along. I want to do, and I want to do the important things, the hard ones that others avoid. What about you?

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