First Things First

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I was in our office kitchen today (which is one of my favorite places in the office because I'm a foodie guy), and let me tell you, I love our coffee maker. I love my morning coffee. However, I have to tell you that I have changed up my routine. I was in there because I had just made my first cup of coffee for the day. I keep my Dunkin Donut Keurig Cups in a special cabinet in the kitchen. Now if you are ever in my office and you want to know where my secret stash is, you now know where to go.

What's the point of me talking about my office kitchen? Who cares that I just brewed my first cup of coffee? Here's why I am talking to you about this today: this week I've started a new discipline in my life. That is, I have chosen to drink more water. My default is to wake up in the morning, go immediately to my kitchen, start a cup of coffee, take a shower, go back out and get my cup of coffee, and then by the time I've left the house in the morning I've gone through cup one. Then I'll make up cup two to drink on my way to the office, then about the time I get to the office and settle in, I'm ready for cup three. That's probably not ideal.

I know that I need to be drinking more water, and so what I've done so far this week is I have nailed it everyday. I have not allowed myself to have a cup of coffee until I have consumed 40 ounces of water. I bought this 20 oz thing that holds water, and I don't let myself get my first cup of coffee until 40 oz of water is gone. Guess what? I love it. I actually feel better through the day, and I'm continuing to drink more water. By the way, after that, I am drinking about twice that much; I'm doing like 80 ounces. (I don't know if that's good, but I think it's got to be better than what I was drinking before.) Here's why I'm telling you this story, not because I think you really care about when I drink my coffee or how much water I consume, but it's this. It is the principle that I am doing the most difficult thing first then rewarding myself with that cup of coffee.

You hear me talk a lot about Mark Twain's quote that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. His point was if you do the most difficult task first, if you do that thing that you don't want to do first, everything the rest of the day is going to get so much easier. This worked for me with my coffee; I'm going to guzzle this 40 ounces of water. It may take me a couple of hours, but then I will reward myself.

Think about your day-to-day routine. Do you do first the things that you want to do, or do you do the most important things, those things that you may not naturally want to do? Eating the frog first means you do the most challenging things, the most time-consuming things, the most things, the things that maybe you would not want to do, but know you need to do. For example, I got to the office this morning, and what I would have liked to do is done some stuff on Instagram, put some posts out there, and read comments from a Facebook live training I did last night. I would have enjoyed doing that. I would have enjoyed having a quick glance through my email, but I didn't do that. I sat down, and the first thing I did was I typed out an email that I needed to do today. I know that if I didn't do it first thing, I would put it off, put it off, put it off. (By the way while I was typing that email, I was drinking water.)

So hey, I love you guys. One thing I want to do is I want to help you think, create, and work better. Part of doing that is disciplining yourself to do the important urgent things first, and then reward yourself by allowing yourself to do the things that are more fun or enjoyable. If you get that routine and have it down in your life, you'll be a lot more productive. People ask me a lot, how do I get everything done that I get done? One of my secrets is I eat the frog first. I don't check my email in the morning; I don't normally check Facebook in the morning. I do the most difficult things first thing in the morning; I don’t meet with people first thing in the morning. I get done that important thing the first couple hours of my day, and then after that I'm free to create, dream, work, and do what I might otherwise be tempted to do first thing.


Your #1 fan,

Ryan

Ryan Frank