Why You Need to Do Your Big Task in the Morning

If you like reading about productivity, then you’ve likely heard the now-common advice to do the hard thing first thing. Brian Tracy of Eat that Frog! fame is one of the biggest proponents of this strategy, and his teachings have done much to convince folks that doing hard things in the morning is essential.

Got a book proposal to write? Do it first thing. Got a mission critical presentation to finish? Do it in the morning before anything else.

That said, although I hear folks say this a lot, most folks don’t actually remember why it’s the case. If you, like me, need a reminder, listen up. It turns out, it’s not about forcing yourself to be a morning person (as many people think), or only about the fact that finishing one task helps you feel more productive and encourages you to keep going (true, but not the only reason).

Instead, the reason that doing the hard thing first thing is a good idea is all warding off the energy-zapping power of decision fatigue.

Yup. Listen up.

The reason you need to do your big job in the morning is that you will always have the most energy before you get decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the thing where you spend energy not knowing the right choice to make.

Ever feel tired after shopping? Or after searching for the perfect flight for an hour? That’s flagging energy because you’ve taxed your mind with decisions. Email is great for doing this, and so one of the great reasons to not get super engaged in email first thing is to keep your mind energetic for your big task. Ultimately, doing your focused work before you get into your email and start messing with a long list of requests from others, is essential.

Try it one day this week and see if it works for you. Commit yourself to not doing an hour of emailing before writing that memo, and see if you feel more energized and do better work than doing the reverse.

If you have tried this already, have you had good results?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Why You Need to Do Your Big Task in the Morning

  1. Thank you!
    Good reflections!
    For me these priorites are essential
    in a good days work.
    It does not only save energy but the emails
    is also very time cunsuming – and suddenly both one and two hours just have disappered without having done the important big job!
    Ann-Christine Fritzsonn, Norway

  2. Great easy to incorporate productivity tips, Claire! Packaged in just the right bite size serving to keep me fueled but not feeling weighed down by everything I need (want) to change immediately to be better, faster, wiser… you get the picture. I have implemented the “big task, first task” tool and it leaves me feeling jazzed to take on remainder “little guys” in my day.

  3. Dear Claire,

    God Morning….
    Your article of doing hard or big thinks first is very right.
    Morning time we have alots of energy reserved during are sleep in night……
    so we can utilize the same and we can mentally & physically focus more on the important things…….
    I have tried it and also got in practice,, this has helped alot……
    And thanks for sharing the information with us

    Sumit Pawar.

  4. Thanks for these helpful reminders. It is too easy to zap your energy in the email vacuum earlier in the morning (which happened today). I will turn this around and save my primary energy for the more critical projects earlier in the morning.

  5. I couldn’t agree more! That is why it is best for me to schedule a social media calendar and do the biggest andhardest workload before 2pM!