Many frown upon adopting a fire-fighting approach to managing tasks. Please don’t think I’m advocating that as a way to plan every moment of your life. However, where we can’t easily see past a particular problem that is causing anxiety, I do believe that there is merit in putting the longer-term, more strategic matters aside, at least temporarily. Quite apart from the satisfaction we all feel from tackling our most pressing issues, it also frees up conscious mental processing power and our intuitive voice.
Brian Tracy uses the metaphor of “Eating the frog”. He suggests that if you start the day by tackling the most unpleasant task first, you will know that the rest of the day can only improve.
Dave Allen, the author of the much admired time management book “Getting things done” makes a similar point. He recommends putting all our tasks into a “system”. Unless and until we consign a task to a diary, task list or tickler file, it is likely to play on our mind, make us more anxious and reduce our mental agility.
So, how about giving it a try? Just for a day or two. Before checking your emails or even making a cup of tea, start the day by acting upon a matter that needs your full attention. My experience shows it’s far more cathartic to start working on a pressing matter than worrying about it.
Good luck and do let me know how you go.