A Simple Productivity Tip You Don’t Often Hear: Start With the Fun Thing First

The Golden State Warriors start practice with the music on blast and the players heaving full court shots.

In case you don’t know the ins and outs of basketball, this first segment of practice is best categorized simply as: goofing off.

Based on this story, you might think the Warriors team doesn’t take basketball seriously and probably loses most of their games.

But it’s the opposite.

The Warriors finished 1st and 2nd in their league the last two years.

And they play a very disciplined system on both offense and defense.

So, this is a great team that is great at practicing.

And they start practicing by goofing off. What does that mean for me and you?

We don’t play basketball for a living (probably).

So, what’s your work equivalent of full court shots?

I think it’s frowned upon for founders or CEOs to say that they don’t love their jobs.

But the reality is that there are huge parts of my jobs that are not super fun.

I don’t like email. I don’t like calls. Or at least, I don’t love either of those things.

So, I’ve observed that over time I don’t rush out of bed to do those things. I drag a little.

Is it similar for you?

My full court shot is writing.

This is the part of my work day that I’m most excited for.

I love trying to articulate a thought because I end up feeling smarter afterward.

So it dawned on me: the first part of my day should be writing.

It’s not goofing off per se, but it is fun.

And now I jump out of bed.

What’s the behavior science here?

Well, there’s an obvious motivation angle. Do what you’re motivated to do.

But I think for most people who suffer from procrastination, starting with fun starts to change your mindset.

Dragging your feet at the beginning of your day demonstrates that you aren’t a productive person.

You start to internalize that and believe it.

Flipping it around — starting the day with passion creates momentum.

You start the day with a sense of accomplishment. For me at least, that momentum carries over.

What is your work equivalent of full court shots?

I don’t know anyone else who’s enthusiastically adopted this productivity approach.

If you are going to try this for yourself, please let me know how it goes.