The secret lies in being able to do the hardest task, yes, the secret to make your mark as a professional. But it’s not easy and that’s the problem. Even if you want to do it, you don’t have slightest idea how you will make it tick.
In this article, we will bust the myth that hardest task is the hardest. The truth is it is not. But actually the hardest art of hardest task is the way we approach it.
If you read this article, you will learn an important skill. You will be able to begin your day with the hardest task and the rest of the day would be gravy. No matter what you do in your career, these ideas apply to all professions and all types of work.
In this article, we will first talk about the story of the ugliest frog. Then we will talk about why it seems that the hardest task is the hardest. Finally, we will talk about how you can use some tricks to start off with your hardest task first thing in the morning.
Just take a piece of paper and a pen to note down what resonates with you.
The story of the ugliest frog
As the job description has been changing drastically in this twenty first century, different sorts of job positions are being invented. This is the story of a person who has mastered the art of eating the ugliest frog first thing in the morning (not exactly though).
He is John. He loves his work. He is at the same place as he was 5 years ago. He doesn’t have to do much work. And he gets paid well. But in the recent past, his boss retired and now he works under a new boss. His new boss is warm but is a hardest task master.
John doesn’t like his boss. He thinks that his boss is pushing him too much. But still, John has never hated his boss.
One day as John is eating lunch, his boss calls him. After finishing his lunch, he rushes to boss’s cabin. His boss tells him – “John, from tomorrow, you need to do one hardest task! And if you wish you can go home after doing that work. But there are few conditions.” John is happy. John thinks in his mind that now his workload has been reduced and he needs to do just one thing in the morning.
John’s boss continues.
“The first condition is you can’t do anything else without completing that work. You can’t take a break even.”
“The second condition is you can’t delay on that work. Before lunch you need to complete the work.”
John grins thinking he will be able to go home before lunch.
“The third condition is once you say yes to this task you can’t say no and I won’t tell you what the task is all about.”
John says – “I am ready to do the work but as you have promised you need to let me go home once I complete the task.”
Boss says – “Think again, John. You can’t say no once you say yes now.”
John thinks how hard can it be and says – “I will do it.”
John goes home happy and tells his wife all about it. John sleeps well at the night thinking that he will get more time with his family now on.
Next day, John heads to office. Boss calls him and sends him to a room. John sees that there is a table and a chair. On the table there is a plate and beside the plate one fork and spoon are properly kept. A waiter comes along and asks John to sit on the chair. John doesn’t understand what’s going on! He asks the waiter – “What’s this all about?” The waiter smiles and says – “You will understand in a moment.”
John checks his wrist watch and waits impatiently. Suddenly he notices that the waiter is coming with a big plate and on the plate there is something strange looking creature. The waiter serves the strange creature on John’s plate. John doesn’t understand and screams – “What’s this?” The waiter calmly says – “I did as I was told.”
John rushes to boss’s cabin. He is furious. He screams – “You told me that I need to do the hardest task. And now you are asking me to eat that ugliest creature?” The boss smiles and says – “No. You don’t need to eat it. By the way that strange looking creature is a frog.”
Boss continues – “I asked you to do it so that you can understand the value of hardest task. Usually the hardest tasks are hardest, but not as difficult as eating an ugliest frog first thing in the morning.
“So now on, you will need to choose the hardest task of the day and do it before you do anything else. And while doing the task, remember, it’s not as difficult, as eating the ugliest frog.
“Now get back to work.”
John thanks his boss and feels relieved that he doesn’t need to eat that ugliest thing and gets back to work.
Every day he comes to office and works on the hardest task of the day first thing in the morning.
And within a month, he has accomplished so much that his boss calls him and congratulates him for his accomplishments and promises him a promotion next quarter.
“Hardest task is hardest” – Myth busted
The above story is a metaphor of why hardest task is not as difficult as we think it is. There are few reasons for which we feel to ignore or procrastinate on the hardest task –
- We get overwhelmed about the size and bigness of the task. And thus we put it off.
- We don’t believe that we can complete it.
- We think that this task will increase a feeling of pain instead of increasing the feeling of pleasure.
- We think that we are not capable to deal with the hardest task effectively.
If you pay heed, you would see hardest task is easy when you approach it with ease. You don’t need to get panicky or be overwhelmed. It is simply a task, maybe a bit prodigious. But wouldn’t you agree that if you compare the hardness of the hardest task to eating an ugliest frog in the morning, doing the hardest task is easier?
You would say that the hardest task is easy. Why? Because you are comparing it with something harder than it!
So, whenever you would think in your mind that the hardest task, you are about to do is hardest, ask yourself – “Compared to what?” and then remember eating the ugliest frog in the morning.
This metaphor may seem silly but it helps you get your perspective clear about the hardest task in the morning.
Shift your mind and you will be able deal with the hardest task like John did. John learned how to shift his mind and he produced results even he got astonished about. You can do the same. If you can do one thing in your professional life to catapult your career to its next level, here’s the thing – your ability to do the hardest task first thing in the morning.
Now we will learn how.
How to do hardest task first thing in the morning?
There are many effective methods through which you can manage to do hardest task first thing in the morning.
Ability to prioritize
Prioritizing means being able to recognize a task which is higher in importance. It doesn’t need to be something which is always the hardest task, but it should have more impact on the consequences than any other tasks. It is being found that managers, who are better in prioritizing, are being able to create better results than those who are not good at prioritizing. But how would you prioritize? Here’s how –
- List out all the tasks you need to do that day.
- Select top 3 with maximum impact.
- Cut off the rest from the list.
- Out of those 3 tasks, choose the one who has maximum impact in coming 3 months.
- Start working on it.
It’s overwhelming to try to do hardest task first thing in the morning. But what if you just need to do a tiny portion of it? Here’s how you can chunk down the hardest task into small portions –
- Look at the hardest task and estimate the time it would take to complete the task. For example, let’s say it would take 6 hours to complete.
- Now let’s start chunking it down. Think that you need to take 100 steps to achieve it. The benefit of chunking down the hardest task into 100 steps is to ensure that the task is so smaller that you can’t give any excuse.
- If you divide the task into 100 steps, each step would be of 3.6 minutes. Let’s make it 5 minutes. But don’t start working on it yet.
- Take a piece of paper and list the 100 steps. If you can’t divide the work task-wise, simply write step-1, step-2 and so on and as you keep completing each step, tick it off.
- There is magic in ticking off. Once you tick off one step, it feels that you are one step closer to your goal and this feeling of enthusiasm will keep you going.
- Now start working on your first step.
After using all the techniques, if you don’t start on your hardest task, it will never get done. You don’t need to worry about the whole task. Just tell yourself that you will do the first step of the task and then you will be done. And you will see that once you start, you will be able to accelerate yourself to do more than just one step. And soon enough, you will be able to complete the whole task even in less than the time you thought it would take. Gather all your willpower to just start and then you will see the magic. It is not only applicable to the hardest task; rather it is applicable to any task that you don’t feel like doing in your professional and personal life.
Make it easy to start
The reason most people don’t start even on the single step is because there is resistance. Resistance is actually a fear of unknown. If you are new to the task, you don’t know what the task is all about. So your mind creates a resistance mechanism to stop you from even starting it. So you need to structure your pre-rituals in such a way that starting on any task doesn’t feel hard enough. Follow the below steps –
- If you want to work on your report or on a project, do your research before and keep all the materials handy so that you have everything in order even before you start.
- Set your day’s work even before the day starts. The ideal time to decide on which task you will work on is the day before. Just finish your day and decide what first thing you would do next day and arrange all things in order.
- Deconstruct the hardest task. Why do you feel resistant? Find that part of the task and see how you can make it easy for you. Let’s take it is research for the report you need to write. Take out some time the day before and research all the materials you need to write the report. Arrange the research materials in proper order.
- Now once you know that you need to start, tell yourself that you would only write the first word. And that’s it. You will begin the hardest task first thing in the morning.
The story and the tricks we discussed here are tested and implemented upon over and over again and people have got tremendous benefits out of it. If you can master this one thing, you would be the most productive person you would know. Just follow these simple steps and start working on the hardest task first thing in the morning. You would see that catapulting your career to its next level is easier than you ever thought.