Do the most annoying thing first!

This is the simplest rule of them all. It is the most important one and the one that will aid you the most in getting things done. If you do follow this rule, you will become highly efficient every single day, staying on top of it all. In my opinion this is the best self-motivation possible.

But – because it is the most annoying task - most managers avoid ever doing it!

Change that habit! Make it your rule to do the most annoying thing first thing in the morning when you start your workday.

Start the task before getting your first coffee, talking to your team or doing anything else. Think for a few minutes what the most annoying task is that needs to get done that day, week or month and do it right away. It doesn’t matter if it takes 5 minutes or half of your day — just make sure that this one thing is what you do first and finish first before you do anything else.

Even if this is the only thing you take away from this book, you will see that your productivity will increase immediately. You feel more motivated and productive and will start every day with the right attitude.

I usually identify that thing by putting together my list for the day (see also “Always work from a list”).

Looking at all the items that need to be done today helps you to focus and more easily identify the most annoying task.

Don’t procrastinate!

Don’t try to do some other easy things first!

You have to focus on this one thing otherwise you will get sidetracked and before you can get anything done you are caught up with all the other easier tasks that needed to be done.

Beware people will interfere with what you are doing, disasters will need to be averted, someone will need your help. In general many other distractions will come your way, try to not let that happen.

Make sure you set as top priority that one annoying task! This will get you motivated for the day. If you don’t knock it off your list, I guarantee other annoying tasks will pile up in your to-do list which will eventually demotivate you every time you look at that list. This will reduce your efficiency dramatically.

Do the most annoying thing first - every day!


“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. “

Antoine de St. Exupery

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Albert Einstein

As my main field is Information Technology, I have seen many companies design complex systems to support elaborate business processes. Unfortunately, I have also seen many of these systems fail.

We sometimes forget that added complexity almost never translates into added benefits or success. Every time we make a process or product more complex we set ourselves up for failure.

Process and Product simplification should be one of the main goals of every professional and manager.

Do not reward complexity! Reward simplicity!

Ensure that everyone around you understands that you foster simple solutions. Depending on your organization this might require a new culture of work or just a small change. In some organizations, it is considered an achievement to build such a complicated process that its creator becomes indispensable (for this also see: “The graveyard is full of indispensable people.”). So much so, that he or she can’t even go on vacation or worse, they are not available to take over other tasks or projects.

Make sure that you reward the opposite – a good manager is a dispensable manager. Only then can he take over new tasks and add value to the company.

In product design there are many examples of the success of simplicity. Just look at Google or Apple and you will immediately recognize that one of their underlying design principles is simplicity.

So make sure that whenever and wherever possible you simplify!

Bad Managers create Complexity - Good Leaders remove it!