One of the best time management tips for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers is to tackle the tough tasks early in the day. On one hand, it’s likely your toughest tasks are the ones crucial to your sales, profits, and business future. On the other hand, easy tasks are necessary but not often valuable. These low-intensity tasks include responding to emails, paperwork, or organizational chores. Planning and carrying out tough tasks early helps you complete them more quickly and efficiently.
Why Tackle Tough Tasks First?
When you work on tough tasks early in your day, your mind is clear and refreshed, you have more energy to devote to high-level work, and you can exercise more control over your schedule. Many time management experts, including Brian Tracy, author of “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time,” recommend blocking off large chunks of time to work on high-priority tasks early in your day.
Tracy illustrates this concept with an experiment. Imagine you have to eat a frog every day. Would you rather wait until the end of the day to eat the frog and spend the whole day stressing about it, or would you rather eat the frog first thing in the morning and be free to enjoy the rest of your day? Assuming you don’t like eating frogs, this example shows how you hurt yourself by avoiding tough tasks. Resulting stress and guilt make you less present and effective throughout the day. At some point, you must complete all your tasks, even the tough ones. When you wait until later in the day, you’re likely to have less energy and more distractions, which could impede your work quality.
Starting Tough Tasks Early in the Day Gives You More Access
Jumping into your tough tasks right away can get you access to people and information early, giving you more time to make a good impression. Say you’re an architect and your company is bidding for a contract to design a new school. You’re in charge of responding to the requests for proposals (RFP), and you’re starting early in the day so you have plenty of time. Because you start right away, you’re able to call and talk to everyone who has data you need before they get too busy. You’re on your way to assembling the documents for a top-notch presentation without last-minute pressure.
Checklists Help When Taking on Tough Tasks
Creating a checklist can help you stay on track with your task and work efficiently to complete it. Imagine you’re a part-time caterer and you share a friend’s industrial kitchen.Your goal is to find financing for your own food truck and run it full-time, so your tough task is writing a business plan. Having a checklist of the business plan elements and information you need for each one lets you take on your big task in bite-size pieces.
Tackling your tough tasks gets easier when you have the tools and equipment that enable you to complete the job. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app today and start running more efficiently.