Productivity and the results we get from our work are conditioned by the tasks we choose to perform. But, admittedly, we are not objective when it comes to decision making. And that’s what Henri Laborit’s Principle shows:
We prefer to do first what we like, what we find easy to perform, what we can finish quickly and what we know how to do.
We have a natural tendency to selecting tasks that require little effort from us. That is why so many things on our to-do list stay uncrossed day after day.
Divide and conquer
In most cases, we stay away from these tasks because we find them too difficult to perform. This is a big problem because, as stated by Jerónimo Sánchez in his blog, “the true value of our work is usually hidden in those emails or tasks that we systematically avoid for days or even weeks, which are not so fast and easy to do, nor they have an immediate reward.”
But the difficult work isn’t usually that hard. Our brain thinks that the non-well defined tasks are complex, so the key lies in dealing with them and splitting each task into smaller sets which will indeed be easier to accomplish. If you know for sure what steps you need to take to finish what you have to do, what at first looked tough will soon turn into an easily attainable challenge.
Tackling the Laborit Principle
We can’t always do what we like. Even when your tasks are perfectly defined, there is always something you’ll try to avoid. In such cases, everything is up to you and your willingness to deal with what you dislike. You may want to combine the least appealing tasks with those that you really like performing, or even do the most difficult ones first thing in the morning when your energy is at its highest level. This way, you’ll finish your workday by doing something you really enjoy.
It is essential to take into account your energy cycles and be aware of your own productivity curve throughout the day. Knowing yourself (work pace, concentration, motivation, skills, etc.) and the laws affecting your productivity is the key to also know how and when you should perform the most unpleasant and difficult tasks.
Translation by Susana Castro.