500 Words: How to be a Quick Starter

In working with a global class of MBA’s at the University of Oxford, I’ve come to recognize a pattern of two distinct types of working habits. Those who start quickly and those who delay. Quick-starters are, quite literally, the individuals who start challenging tasks quickly, setting and reaching their individual short term goals. In business, you can see the same type of phenomenon: the individual that’s always stressed about their workload or those that, despite seemingly demanding careers, always find time to do more. I’ve personally always strived to be a quick starter and believe it’s fundamental to an individual’s drive, well-being, and success. Here’s how I work to make it happen:

Attack your day — Each day should be looked at as an opportunity to not only tackle your to-do list but also go beyond it. For many, this starts with an early morning workout but can be as simple as making your bed or taking care of the little things. By beginning the day diving into your tasks, you’ll not only reward yourself with an immediate accomplishment but also initiate yourself to accomplish further tasks.

Relentlessly Organize and Prioritize — Each day we’re faced with a multitude of tasks. Starting quickly can make leaving open items difficult, which can be exhausting to deal with on a day to day. By organizing each task into a specified time and place, and most importantly, sticking to that time, each task will become manageable, allowing one to focus on the individual task at hand. Organization causes a cyclical effect that improves productivity and timeliness, ultimately giving you more time in the day to accomplish tasks and do something you love.

Don’t expect perfection to start — Starting quickly doesn’t have to mean finishing quickly, but should give you the headway needed to best complete a task. Too often are individuals not in the right place, right time, or have the right materials to complete a task. Rather than searching for excuses, start quickly and you’ll find that you might end up accomplishing much more than you anticipated. By starting quickly and staying organized, you’ll ultimately leave yourself more time to polish your deliverable to perfection.

Eliminate distractions — While scrolling feeds, checking your phone, or sifting through music might be the popular distractions to eliminate, “productive procrastinating”, the concept of completing other, easier tasks rather than the tasks we need to do, can be just as detrimental. Since these distractions offer an easy way out, accomplish them prior or schedule them for later rather than leaving the required task behind.

Quick starting is the first step to achieving efficiency in your work and life. Attacking the day builds your sense of accomplishment and jumpstarts your initiative, organizing helps reduce the stress of numerous tasks and reduce distractions, and just getting started gives you much more time and headway to strive for perfection. While everyone faces different tasks, those that adhere to these principles will find it much easier to face them.

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