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The Power of "First-Then" Statements.

I remember back in college when I had to write "If-Then" statements, which means if something is true, then something else will happen. It kind of made me think of a thought that I often find floating through my head which now I'll call my "First-Then" statement. First, I will do something, then I will do something else. Sounds pretty reasonable, but how you use that statement could be the difference between getting important things done and just getting stuff done.

The question is, what are you putting in the "First" slot? Is it something that is important or urgent? Or is it something that is really waaaaaay down the priority list and kind of the stuff that's easy or more fun to do than the pressing stuff? Hmmmm..... Let's say you

need to make a difficult phone call. Addressing it head on would be something like, "First I'll call person X, then I'll check my emails". But if you switch the two, it becomes "First I'll check my emails, then I'll call person X", but you know what? Most likely person X won't get called at all because something else more fun will pop into the "First" slot when you finish checking your emails. It's easy to fall into the trap of doing what's fun or easy first and holding off on the more important/difficult things. It's actually called productive procrastination; putting less important work (busy work) above important work.

Have you experienced any of these?

First I'll check Facebook, then I'll write my report

First I'll finish this Netflix series, then I'll really buckle down

First I'll clean out my desk drawer, then I'll send out my emails

First I'll run some errands, then I'll look for a job

First I'll (do the fun/easy thing, then I'll (do the hard/difficult thing/undesirable thing)

First-then statements are everywhere! Did any of these sound familiar?

Now that I've brought it to your attention, try to catch yourself thinking that way and switch the two activities and see if you start crossing off more of the important things on your to-do list rather than the not so important/urgent things. If you have a hard time remembering the important things that you need to do, set up a to-do list on a sheet of paper with a line drawn the middle. Title one side "Important/Urgent" and the other side "Not Important/Not Urgent". Refer to that list when you catch yourself doing the easy stuff (or stuff that's not even on the list) first and replace it with doing something from the "Important/urgent" side and find yourself becoming more productive through out the day. Good luck!!!

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