Friday, May 30, 2008

Do The HARD Stuff First! (or, What Are You Going To Blow Up Today?)

Here's some good advice: Do the hard stuff first. Every day.

Hate exercising? Do it in the morning, first thing. Nervous about calling a big account to see if they will re-order? Make them the FIRST call of the day. Have a relationship issue that's been on your mind? Don't sneak out the door with a quick good-bye... Stop, look him or her in the eye and discuss it NOW.

"Procrastination is nothing more than fear of the hard stuff."

Procrastination is nothing more than fear of the hard stuff. Conquer that fear and you WILL get things done. Conquer that fear and you will feel productive, every day, because every day you tackle the hard stuff first is a day you accomplish something important.

Easier said than done!

Doing the hard stuff first IS the hard stuff! I am guilty of being a master procrastinator. But I am trying hard to mend my evil ways, and with some inspiration from reading Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Workweek, I am working hard to pick at least one HARD thing to tackle every day.

Of course, I should have learned this lesson a long time ago. One of the best examples of doing the hard stuff first came when I was making movies, in the late 80's. I actually worked for Troma, the masters of low budget filmmaking. Although we operated on shoe-string budgets (eventually upgrading to Velcro budgets) and we didn't take ourselves (or our films) too seriously, we DID take the business of filmmaking seriously, and I learned many great lessons from Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz.

When we made a movie, we always tried to schedule the hard stuff first. On a Troma set, it wasn't uncommon to schedule a complicated stunt or to blow something up on the first day of filming. By tackling something really hard on Day 1 we were ensured to establish a quick bond amongst the cast and crew and create a level of focus and teamwork that set the tone for the rest of the shoot. If we could do THAT (stunt, explosion, etc.) then WE could do anything, and we were ready, willing and able to face the challenges ahead. Bring it on!

So what are you going to blow up today? Go ahead, do the hard stuff first, and let me know how it goes in the comments below. How do YOU conquer the fear of the hard stuff???

Photo: A stunt AND an explosion from TROMA'S WAR (1988).