- Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Rodial
- The best way to avoid procrastinating is to tackle your most boring task first thing Monday morning, Rodial CEO Maria Hatzistefanis said.
- Your ability to make decisions breaks down over the course of a week, so you should knock out difficult tasks early when you still have the mental energy, she said.
- By not procrastinating, she can dedicate her Fridays to “just the basics” without fear of making bad decisions.
For many workers, Monday mornings are the hardest time of the week to get things done.
But if you want to avoid procrastinating, that’s exactly when you should do your most important work, according to one business leader.
Maria Hatzistefanis, the founder and CEO of skincare company Rodial, says her best piece of advice for chronic procrastinators is to get your hardest task out of the way right at the outset of the week.
“Tackle the most boring and difficult thing first thing on a Monday morning,” Hatzistefanis told Business Insider.
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Her reasoning, she said, is that difficult tasks become harder and harder to start with each passing day.
“As the day and the week goes on, you have to make so many decisions that your willpower reduces,” she said. “That’s why at the end of the day, we tend to overeat or eat unhealthy things or indulge, because we’ve used up all our willpower throughout the day. The biggest amount of willpower is first thing in the morning on the day of the week when you have your most energy.”
That advice seems to be rooted in science. Decision fatigue, as it’s known, is the idea that our ability to make decisions wears down with each decision we make in a short time span. Basically, our supply of mental energy gets depleted in the same way our physical energy does when we exercise. It explains why we have trouble resisting impulse buys at the checkout aisle and why parole judges in the US give vastly different rulings based on the time of the hearing.
Tackling her most difficult task on Monday morning allows Hatzistefanis to dedicate her Fridays to “just the basics,” she said.
But even if your most difficult task is an extensive project that can’t be knocked out in a morning, Hatzistefanis has a tip: Make headway on it any way you can, even if it’s as simple as sending yourself an email.
“I just try to take the first step, which could be even sending an email to myself, saying this is the first thing you need to do,” Hatzistefanis said on a November episode of her podcast “Overnight Success.” “And that taking the first step, it puts me in the mindset that, OK, I’ve done something and that motivates me to keep going.”