Start with Your Kickboard First!

Life Hacks

Q:  Sometimes I avoid work situations or projects that are really tough.  How can I change that?

A:  Don’t shy away from these areas.  Why not put them first in the day?  You’ll be proud of what you did.

When I do my morning swim, I have a regimen of drills designed to improve my swimming techniques.  The toughest of those is my kickboard exercise, where I hold the kickboard if front of me and kick as hard as I can from one end of the pool to the other. It’s an important exercise. Since I find it the toughest of my drills, I do it first.  This makes all the other drills seem easier.

After I do the kickboard exercise, I then go to the second toughest drill.  Then I go to the third. It’s the same technique I use for my work every day.  

Note:  We should talk about the difference between a tough task and an important task.  The important ones are usually tough, but not always. You do want to make sure these tasks are your most important, too.  Then you can do your most important A priority first, followed by your second highest A. After your A’s, then go to the B’s and then your C’s.  (My book PerfectTIMING explains that the A items are “most essential”; B items are “essential”; C items are “less essential”.)

If you adopt this technique you will be proud of yourself, as you think of all the important, tough items you accomplished.  Then, as you tire toward the end of the day, you can smile, since you’ve done all the tough things earlier that day.

One note:  Make sure you don’t do what many people do:  They do the easy tasks first so that they can check them off.  They resist the tough tasks and/or the most important tasks.


  1. If you use a “To Do” List, determine whether each item is an A, B or C priority.
  2. Think of an A item for each day this week.
  3. If you have a big project, break it down into smaller chunks and do one each day.
  4. At the end of the week, compare what you accomplished to any weeks prior to that.
  5. You are on your way to being an Effective Time Manager!

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