when to do something important (but not urgent)


Biz in the City Update: Tonight’s Business in the City is the last one that I will be leading personally. Going forward, the meet-up will continue at Next Door once a month under the leadership of Helena Swyter (Sweeter CPA) and Chris Broadhead (Suit Social Media). I am so proud of this little meet-up group and I am so thankful for all of the fun and animated conversations we’ve had over the years. The group is in good hands with Helena and Chris.

In the future, you can check Next Door’s programming page for upcoming meet-up dates.

Okay, now it’s time to share this week’s What I’m Learning Wednesday topic: when to do something that is important, but not urgent.

This new lesson is actually the outcome of my earlier post this week that discussed my struggle to make progress on an important project over the last six months. As I detailed in the post, I came up with all sorts of valid (and not-so-valid) rationalizations excuses for not making progress.

Thankfully, reading The War of Art and Turning Pro helped me do a lot of honest self-reflection about the Resistance I felt towards the project.

But even after I examined my Resistance, I still needed to figure out when to work on this project within an already hectic schedule.

The first thing I did was eliminate my one-on-one business consulting services so that I can direct more of my energy in this new direction. While I will still be doing one-on-one sessions via The Intention Sessions, the hotel lobby design project, podcast, and blog, I am doing my best to eliminate projects that do not directly relate to where I am headed long-term.

As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision to execute, but one that was necessary in order to follow my gut.

Even after making those bold changes, however, I still found myself with another challenge: when to actually do the work on this project day-to-day?

For me, I now know the best time to do an important (but not urgent) project like this is first thing in the morning.  

By simply devoting my first hour of work to this project every day this week, I have already found myself more productive in the afternoons, too.

Why? I don’t quite know.

But I can say that getting that work done early is not only making me more effective elsewhere in my business, but it also make me feel successful that day – no matter what else happens.

To make this shift in my schedule wasn’t very hard. It simply took a focused effort to avoid checking my email or writing on the blog until after I worked on the project.

Based on the results of this new approach so far, I now realize that I enjoy working on my project in the morning and working in my business in the afternoon.

This shift has already been such a dramatic improvement in my effectiveness that I’m surprised I never realized this sooner.

I already understood the power of having a morning victory, but I never thought to apply it to my work-life as well until now.

Though this idea may not be ideal for everyone, particularly those with a full-time job or children, this concept could be adapted within a variety of schedules.

Anything that is easy to do and also easy not to do, is easiest to do first.


May something wonderful happen to you today,



Reader Spotlight 

My name is Monique Brown. I’m an Intimacy Coach and founder of the Feminine Allure Academy™, an online charm school where I teach women the intimacy skills to create awesome and peaceful relationships.

Monique Brown, Motor City Moxie

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  1. Melissa

    When you first mentioned “new leadership” for Biz in the City, I immediately thought of Helena 🙂 Sad you will no longer be leading it, but you’re right, it’s in good hands! See you tonight!

    1. Sweeter CPA

      Thanks, Melissa! Chris and I hope to carry on Jess’s legacy well!

  2. alexandrainto

    I hope your last Biz in the City goes well. This is excellent advice. Thank you again for sharing your process.

    On a completely random note, where did you get your lovely gold clock?

    1. My pleasure!

      The clock is actually my Grandpa’s old clock… so I don’t know if it’s quite “vintage” or not, but that is where it is from. (It also no longer works, but it is quite pretty.)

      1. alexandrainto

        That is lovely. One of my most prized possessions is a clock my grandfather made. It is nice to hold onto things from past generations even if people do not call them “vintage.”

  3. So happy to read this today – I have been feeling stuck and resistant to the things I have to get done all day. Tomorrow, I will start the day off doing just ONE of them, and I already know that this will fuel the rest of the day and avoid the guilt/frustration I am feeling now. Ah, I love a good plan of attack!

    1. That is so great to hear! I’m excited to know you are going to join the ‘morning club’ with me, too. It really does change the pace of the rest of the day.

      Please let me know how it goes!

  4. Sara

    There are a few tasks I have been neglecting that I think would greatly benefit from first-thing-the-morning dedication. For me, it will require discipline to get to bed earlier the night before, have my clothes laid out, etc., but I know I would be much more productive than I am now, waiting until after my 9-hour (day) job to do it. Thank you for this bit of inspiration!

    1. I totally know what you mean, Sara! The discipline part is important to consider with stuff like this. For me, knowing I have things that need to happen in the afternoon means that I need to get this other work done in the morning asap. So I, too, find myself hustling a bit more in the morning to get to that project as quickly as possible.

      Also, since you are a ‘midnight hustler,’ I also want to share that my friend Crystal, the founder of Rue Magazine, did her work on her business before her day job as she worked on the launch of the first issue, too. So you are in good early morning company!

      1. Sara

        That’s so inspiring to hear! I love Rue magazine! Thanks for the encouragement! I’m going to give it a try tomorrow!

  5. georgia

    quote of the day… “Anything that is easy to do and also easy not to do, is easiest to do first.”

    i needed that reminder for so many areas of my life. will be practicing this little nugget of advice in my photography business start-up. thanks!

    1. That is so great to hear, Georgia! I hope that it helps you do those important, but not urgent, things first!

  6. lauren

    I have been finding a similar pattern in my own work – ‘morning victories’ are great. I’m also discovering the power of momentum – once you just get started, things keep building. I’m finding it’s so important to be patient with myself as I figure out what works.

    1. Exactly! I also find the momentum builds the opposite way, too. So for example when I was avoiding the project and not making real progress day-to-day that also built up more Resistance, more momentum in the opposite direction.

      I also agree, it’s important that we are patient with ourselves as we make changes like this.

      PS – You might really like “Turning Pro,” if you haven’t already read it.

      1. lauren

        Yes, that is so true!

        I haven’t read that – I’ll have to check it out – thanks!

        1. I just commented on your other comment about The War of Art… not connecting it to this thread. Opps!

  7. Yes! This is just what I needed to hear today… Totally trying it out (starting tomorrow), and can already tell that it will make a difference in the day-to-day break down of my time allotment. Thanks for sharing, Jess – Will keep you posted on the outcome! 🙂

  8. Andrea

    You’re amazing. Every time I’m dealing with something you articulate it so well, to the point I didn’t even realize sometimes that I had an issue!
    Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

    1. Aw, I’m so happy to hear that you’re able to relate to these things, Andrea. : )

      I hope you are able to put your “first things first,” too!

  9. Deb @ home life simplified

    This is just where I am too. I only have the hours my kids are at school and I was previously using a chunk on days I went to the gym after school drop off. I decided I needed to reclaim the hours of 9-12 for my business and projects as that is when my mind is sharpest, now instead of worrying about the gym timetable I can pop in for a swim at noon or go for a quick run. Win win and it might motivate me to do tooth for a change instead of skipping the exercise for my to do list lol

    1. That is so awesome to hear, Deb! It sounds like you’ve found a good system. The earlier, the better! : )

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