Want to Get into a Productive Cycle? Do this.

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Do you ever get to Friday wondering where the time went?

Do you sometimes feel frustrated that the thing you most wanted to get done - didn't (again)? Do you occasionally feel disapointed that procrastination got the best of you (again)? Do you sometimes close the week feeling discouraged that you didn't make the progress you wanted? 

Well, if this has ever been the story of your week, or if you simply want to end the week strong, energized by your accomplishments, then I have a technique for you. It's called front-loading.

"Front-load" means:

  1. To arrange or plan (a schedule, project, or process, for example) so that a large portion of the activity happens in an early period.
  2. To concentrate maximum effort (on an activity) at the outset. 

Front-loading is a super-simple method that can have you riding high by the time the weekend rolls around. Basically, it's deliberately loading the beginning of a time period (your day and your week) with high-impact work - the work that matters most. 

 

Front-load Your Week

Figure out what you most want to accomplish this week, then begin to work on it on Monday. (Yes, Monday).

What often happens is we have that important project or task that we want to get done and we chase it all week. We ease into the week and start thinking about it on Wednesday. Then, we get sidetracked by all interruptions and email and meetings... and... then it's Friday. Again. And, we haven't touched that thing we most wanted (or needed) to complete. 

But if you make some progress on Monday, you basically start out ahead of the game. 

 

Front-Load Your Day

But don't just front-load your week. Front-load your day. What do you most want to accomplish today? Spend the first hour of your day working on it. By 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., you'll be flying high. You'll have made progress on something that mattered. 

What do most people do with that first precious hour? Email. When you start with email, it's easy to get behind and find yourself pursuing that thing you most want to get done all day. And then, it's 6:00 p.m. and it's not done. So you stay late or "kick the can" to the next day. And so it goes. 

Front-loading your day makes sense from a cognitive perspective, too. That pre-frontal cortex -  that thinking, plotting, planning, conscious part of your brain - fatigues with use. That means as the day wears on, your thinking faculties wear down. Why not apply the strongest cognitive muscle to making progress on the things that matter? 

 

Front-loading is a simple technique that builds momentum and fuels motivation. 

When you make progress at the beginning of the day, and the beginning of your week, your motivation rises, setting up a productive cycle throughout the day and week.

These opening productive efforts have a compounding effect that spills into the rest of your day and week. Rather than chasing your goals all day and all week, you're keeping pace or maybe leading the pack. You're activating a productive cycle of progress. 


Front-loading also works well with things you are procrastinating on, or are dreading, or are just plain hard.

Front-load those "undesirables" and get them done. Then, it's smooth sailing all day and week. There is a famous quote by Mark Twain, "Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The book Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy, is inspired from that sentiment - essentially, do the hard stuff first. Get it over with and everything else will be easy. 


How you start matters. Just ask a competitive runner or swimmer or jockey. How you are out of the gate will make a difference in your race. 

Front-load your day and your week with the things that matter, the things that are hard, the things you're procrastinating on and you no longer will be spinning your wheels. You'll be igniting a natural, productive cycle... and cleaning up!

 

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Hey, you! Are you a go-getter, do-gooder, mover, shaker,  or a candlestick maker? 

Then, by all means, come join Productivity Power, a private Facebook Group focused on the art of accomplishment, the craft of productive work, the technique of creating the life you want. Join your crowd over at the