If you joined us for Lorraine’s Murphy’s Masterclass LIVE today, you’ll know that talking about getting organised has never been so much fun.
Lorraine along with host Shelly Horton covered everything from morning routines (and evening routines if you’re not a member of the 5 am club) to conquering distractions and kicking procrastination to the curb.
One of the biggest takeaways we’re going to change up in 2018 is not checking our emails as soon as we wake up. I mean, we knew it wasn’t great but we hadn’t thought about it like this before.
“When you check your emails and social media before you get out of bed and before your feet even hit the floor, you’re going straight into reactive mode, and that sets the tone for the day, which is on everyone else’s agenda, not your own,” Lorraine said.
MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) also unpinned a lot of Lorraine’s advice on getting the most out of the year ahead, so we asked her to break down what they are and how she uses them to smash out her most important work before the demands of the day compete for her attention.
“If you can get three MIT’s done before you check your emails in the morning, you will have a phenomenal year.”
In Leo Babauta’s book The Power of Less, he introduces the concept of MITs. These are Most Important Tasks, the absolutely critical things you need to do on a particular day.
Brian Tracy has a similar concept, which he calls the ‘frog’. In his book Eat That Frog!, he argues for getting the most difficult thing on your list done first, and suggests that approaching your day in that way is a marker of a ‘high performing individual’.
Apparently, Mark Twain said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you.
Your frog is your worst task, and you should do it first thing in the morning. The idea is to tackle your frog, or MITs, first thing in the morning before the demands of the day (kids, emails, colleagues) start to compete for your attention. Then you work on them and work on them until they’re completed – not allowing yourself to get pulled into other tasks, conversation or, as Tracy calls it, ‘low-value activity’ until the frogs are done.
A classic example of low-value activity is clearing our email inboxes. I love entrepreneur Sabri Suby’s description of email – he sees it as other people’s to-do lists for him; therefore, he ensures that he completes his own to-do list first.
My MITs can generally be broken down into four distinct types of tasks:
1. Tasks that will move the business forward
These are the really big hairy jobs that I know will have an impact on getting us closer to the point we want to be at. That might be writing an opinion piece for a trade media title, planning an upcoming strategy day with the team or following up on conversations with three new business prospects.
2. Something I’ve been delaying on starting
We’ll talk more about procrastination in Chapter 12. I generally find that if I’ve been putting something off, making that task an MIT forces me to get it done once and for all.
3. Something boring
I absolutely abhor process and detail – I need to work really, really hard to motivate myself to undertake tasks in this area. The thought of checking legal contracts or process maps or reviewing accounts quite honestly makes me itchy – the team laugh at how little I seem to make an appearance in our ‘Systems & Processes’ Slack channel. If so-called ‘boring’ tasks are not made an MIT, then the chances of me making them a priority are very slim.
4. Something that will take time
If something is going to occupy a significant portion of my day, then it needs to sit within my MITs. If it doesn’t, I run the risk of running out of time later in the day and not getting to complete (or even start!) that task. Front-loading our days with the more time-consuming tasks makes sense as we ensure we’ll have sufficient time to work on them. Let’s also remember that when we know a task is going to take more time, we can easily bump it for something we know we can get done quicker. We are suckers for immediate gratification!
The rule with MITs is that you need to complete them before you move on to the following sections. This takes discipline. It’s the easiest thing in the world to skip past an MIT as something further down the list is easier, more exciting or sits within your comfort zone – trust me, I still have to crack down on myself on many days!
The sense of achievement when you’ve ticked off your MITs (or your frogs) is fantastic, and sets up buckets of momentum for the rest of the day.
- Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $29.99. Available in all good bookstores and online now.
- Free download of Lorraine’s To-Do List template
- The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod
Have you booked your spot for February’s Masterclass LIVE session? We’ve got Mia Garlick joining us to talk about how to use Facebook to help grow your business. Who doesn’t want to know how to do that? Find out more and register here.