Here’s something I deliberately try to do every day. Start with the hard thing.
What do you do when you start work each day? Do you start with the hard thing? The call you are worried about? The task you don’t know out how to start? The tough feedback you need to give?
Or, do you start with an easy to do? Do you begin checking email, looking at your team’s score on social media, or seeing who liked your latest post on Facebook?
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about how early progress in a day correlates to success. Even something small, such as making your bed, can lead to much larger changes, building a keystone habit that helps other habits to take root.
Socio-economist Randall Bell, Ph.D., has been studying success for 25 years, analyzing the core characteristics that all great achievers have in common. It turns out that what you do every day matters. The most successful people follow specific daily rituals and routines, or what he calls “rich habits.”
These “rich habits” actually correlate to being a millionaire. “Those who do their chores and keep their living space tidier tend to make more money,” writes Bell in his new book Me We Do Be. Bell notes that, “For example, those who make their bed in the morning are up to 206.8 percent more likely to be millionaires.” It puts your mind into a productive mindset, he explains.
At the start of your day, the easy thing’s call is a siren’s call. It lures you with the promise of five minutes, of the next like, of the quick check. But the rocks it lures you into wreck your day. The five minute promise turns into more and more distractions. More lost time. Your real progress is put off. What really matters gets postponed.
At work, early progress on the deep work, the work that really matters, sets the tone for the rest of your day. When we start strong, we finish strong.
But the siren will call us again tomorrow. The question is, will we listen?