Tools for Success — Do The Hard Stuff First!

Remember only you can make business great!

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics you can use to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing. I didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the other articles) in the series. Each of the articles after the first takes a closer look at one of the tactics.

When faced with a difficult task, too often, we procrastinate. Putting off hard tasks is costly. It kills work ethic, lowers productivity, and reduces urgency. Worst of all, it delays the day when the hard task will be done.

Think for a moment about your business. Is there a task you dread? Is there something you put off when you get to your office? Whether you’re putting off a small daily task or a major undertaking, I have advice for you.

If it is a small daily task, do the thing you dread most first. When I came to work, I made it a rule to do what I least wanted to do first. After I had that must-do task done, I got momentum because I could devote the rest of the day to doing work that I liked better.

If the task that you least want to do is a big job or project, take a few minutes and list the steps needed to complete it. Once you have reduced the elephant to bite-sized pieces, take a bite, first thing every day, before you move on to the rest of your to-do list.

As you look at the project or major job, you may find that there are parts of it that a team member can do for you. If possible, delegate them to the person or the people who can do them better than you can. If you cannot delegate them, do whatever is next on that project first.

Most of the time, you will find that the task is not as bad as you imagined it would be. And, you can redirect the energy you were devoting to procrastinating and worrying to serving your customers, growing your revenues, and increasing your profits.

Whenever I think about procrastination, I think of an employee I had. I nicknamed him Motorcycle Craig because, whenever he had to start a job, he acted like a little man on a tiny motorcycle at the foot of Mount Everest. He buzzed back and forth. He told anyone who would listen, “I can’t do it; I can’t do it.” He would do anything not to have to start a job.

Once he started, however, he found he could do the job much better than he expected. You can be more productive and enjoy your work more starting today. Do the small task you dread most first. If it’s a big project you’re putting off, take a step toward completing it first thing every day.

I talk about to-do lists in another article in this series. Successful people make to-do lists. I still make one nearly every day. Sometimes, I estimate the time each item will take so I can get a snapshot of my day. Whether you include time estimates or not, make the first item on your to-do list your least favorite must-do item.

If you hate to review financial statements, make sure your bookkeeper leaves them on your desk before he or she goes home so that you can look at them when you are the freshest. Hate email? Do it first and then close it. Now go have fun! Remember to have positive energy, channel your positive dissatisfaction, and maintain your strong sense of urgency.


Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies. Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for performance, and find new customers on the web.

As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.

To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232,, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.