I Keep Avoiding the Top-Priority Task on My List

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

Neagle Code Question

Hi David,

One task I really need to work on is changing my program into a group model. I work on it every day, but it’s usually one of the last things I do. My quality of work might be better if I started on it earlier in the day. I feel like I should be doing more on it.

Even if I give myself a suggested time to finish it—other things always get in front of it and push it down the list. How do I get control of this?

Neagle Code Answer

You’re guaranteed not to fail if you can’t even start.

Every person I’ve ever seen do this, finds the perfect excuse not to get started—which protects them from failing, or having to confront what will happen if they complete the task.

Nothing “gets” in front of your high-priority task. YOU put things in front of it.

You have to stop doing that, and start playing hardball with yourself.

You have to prioritize and stick to doing it in the exact way you’re going to do it. It’s about keeping your commitment, so that you can get it done.

Once it’s done, you can work on the cause and effect—and make sure you’re getting the right results.

Then you can go in and work on what needs to be fixed in order to dial it in. If you’re not there yet, then whatever excuse is on the table will stop you.

I think you need to give yourself a firm completion date, then reverse engineer what needs to be done so that you hit that date.

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