inspiration Writing Habits
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Do the Most Important Thing First

Clock_clock_262668_lI've not harrassed myself people about this for awhile, so as 2015 starts, it seems a good time. And, there's a hashtag going around on Twitter so its hard to avoid. (Of course now that I've gone to look for it, I can't find it.)  And, most importantly, I truly, deeply, madly believe in this concept.

The concept is, of course (as my three-year-old grandson says), that you get up in the morning and do what's most important to you the very first thing.  This likely means you will need to set your alarm (unless you are like me, whose eyes pop open at 5:30 no matter what) to get up early enough to accomplish whatever is most important to you.

For me, the most important thing is writing. Always has been, always will be.  I am at my best all day long if I've gone straight to the page when I get up (with one quick detour to the coffeepot, of course).  Lately I've been writing morning pages for 20 minutes or so and finding them nourishing and energizing.  Most days, they lead me straight to the computer and the file of my WIP, allowing me to bypass my email and social media without a thought.

But your most important thing might be yoga or running, as my neighbor Sheila does every day, or meditating, or, I don't know–fishing.  Or crocheting.  Or weeding the garden by moonlight. Or art journaling.  Or playing piano.  Only you can decide.

And the point is, what you do doesn't matter.  But you will find that if you are doing what is most important to you first thing, it matters a lot.  Because you will start the rest of your day knowing that you've already knocked off what you want to do most.  No worries or stress about when you will actually get to it.

This is life changing.  People say this about things all the time, but this really, truly is life changing. If you commit to only one thing in 2015, commit to this.  You'll thank me at the end of the year, after your novel is written, your garden has bloomed all summer, or you've crocheted a hundred sweaters.  

Here's what Austin Kleon has to say on the subject:

"What I usually recommend: get up early. Get up early and work for a couple hours on the thing you really care about. When you’re done, go about your day: go to school, go to your job, make your family breakfast, whatever. Your teacher or your boss or your kids can’t take your work away from you, because you already did it. And you know you’ll get to do it tomorrow morning, as long as you make it through today."

(The article this was taken from is about doing something, anything, towards your most important goal every day.  Its worth reading.) 

I could go on and on about this, but I'm not going to.  Because the thing is, you just need to do it. So, off you go.  Enjoy!

 Here are other posts I've done on similar topics:

Inspiration for Writers: The Morning Ritual

Morning Routine

Writing Every Morning

Do you have a morning routine, something you commit to each day?

Photo by vierdrie.


0 thoughts on “Do the Most Important Thing First

  1. J.D.

    Life certainly changes. It makes sense to hang on to something you guide, instead of bowing to all those things that guide you. The K-Mart in my hometown closed. It was at one time a vibrant, busy place. Near the freeway, across the street from the Holiday Inn X-press. It meant nothing to most people, but I can remember feeling so alive there. Times change. Land marks–some burn, some get bulldozed. What do you do when the place that gave you that feeling is no longer there? I fear those feelings, those memories will slip away like the landmarks. What do you do? Write it down? Difficult to write about K-Mart and make it special, but if you don’t, it may slip away forever.

  2. Don Williams

    I agree that what’s first most important should be tackled the very first thing. For me that’s reading, but I can’t rest until it’s done so I have to do it first or I’ll be anxious all day until it’s done! Like you, I rise around 5:30 am am no matter what too.

  3. Charlotte Dixon

    If I were coaching you, I'd say writing about feeling special in K-mart is your next assignment.  And, I know what you mean.  Ikea is my happy place.  I love going there, love eating lunch in the crappy cafeteria–don't ask me why, I have no idea.  Our souls get fed for crazy reasons.  I'm really aware of things closing and changing here in Portland, as developers buy older homes and tear them down to use the lot for new ones and mixed-used housing developments are going in everywhere.  I often think the city will be unrecognizable in 20 years.  And this is how change happens, I guess.  It is up to us as writers to chronicle it.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Cheers to another early riser!  And I know what you mean–sometimes I have to take a quick look at email just to assure myself there is nothing urgent there.  Then I put my mind to rest and move on.  Reading first thing is a great way to start the day!

  5. Dyoung

    My morning routine is pretty set. But I linger. And don’t get a lot done in the sense that it makes me feel over accomplished like I’d like it to. Not that I don’t want this to change. I do. In fact…I may stop procrastinating (already) and do it.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh, the lingering.  I linger over the crossword puzzle after I've written and while I'm eating breakfast.  I convince myself that its good for my brain, when really….I'm just lingering.  So I hear you.  

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