Do The Hardest Things First

On any given day, you have a limited amount of willpower, meaning that you do not constantly have a unlimited supply of willpower ready to be used at any moment.

Because of this, you then have to be able to manage it and make it work in your favor.

Researchers have actually found that willpower is finite and they studied this through parole board hearings.

Researchers analyzed 1,112 parole board hearings assigned to 8 judges over a 10 month period.

The judges would hear the parolees’ arguments and then take 6 minutes to come up with a decision on 14 to 35 parole requests a day.

Throughout the day, the judges were given only 2 breaks, a morning snack and a late lunch.

Throughout the day, the researchers found that in the mornings and after each break, the parolees’ chance of being released peak at 65%, and then plunges to near 0 by the end of each period.


This research shows that judges had maximum willpower in the beginning of the day to make well thought out decisions, but as the day progressed, it gradually dies out.

In the book “The One Thing,” Gary Keller, who is the founder of the largest real estate company in the world, says,

“Because you have a limited supply of willpower, each act of will creates a win-lose scenario where winning in an immediate situation through willpower makes you more likely to lose later because you have less of it.”

Willpower, therefore, is a timing issue.

If you have something important or difficult to do, don’t make it harder than it needs to be by waiting till the end of the day to do it.

Like the judges, the sooner you do something, the easier it’ll be to complete it.

If you wait till later in the day when your willpower is low, you’re either never going to do the thing you need to do or you’re not going to do it well.

In life, you should always do the hardest things first in the day because that’s when you have maximum willpower.


10 thoughts on “Do The Hardest Things First

  1. It is really something to think about. Though, a normal, average person will choose to do the easiest first than the hardest. But, when we think of it psychologically, when the hardest part is done a person wouldn’t procrastinate the easier ones. The sense of accomplishment will provide a new level of zeal to achieve more. A great piece of work we have got right here.
    Also, I would like to mention each of your write up is worth reading. You have a practical approach with realistic examples, which helps to look at life with new perspective; positive and enthusiastic. Keep writing!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Perhaps my perception of disagreeing with you is related to the book I’ve read. When you state we should do the hardest things first, are you referring to things that were challenging and almost impossible to do at our current state?

        If that’s the case, then you might have mistaken that we may be able to accomplish it. According to his research, our performance is affected whether we are doing something difficult or very easy. The key point of accomplishing lots of things lies on equal capability of your skills and the task or challenges you’re trying to accomplish.

        But when willpower is involved, I may have to research more about it as it may say different opinions than the book I’ve read.


  2. HI Vincent

    Yes, One has to the hardest thing first. To make it easier we need to divide and conquer, break it into smaller chuck and use a to do list and even the hardest thing isn’t really hard. I don’t know how may times I have taken ages to do something just because it is hard, and then then when I do it , I feel – why did I take so long to do it, it wasn’t that bad. We stall , freeze, procrastinate on something we think hard, but as soon as you start it, and achieve baby steps – you realise – what was I thinking.!!! Well I do. Divide and conquer, small baby steps, believe in yourself, use a to do list and infact nothing is hard – it is just will power, determination not to be flatted by a thought – oh it is hard , action make us achieve, action make us realise – hey this is do-able.

    Thanks of this post, really enjoyed it. it so true we stall, and we rise and dip. I love the 3 charts, how right are they

    Great post.

    Regards Bella

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read an article about this, about how your willpower starts like a glass full of water and as the tasks happen during your day, the will power becomes less and less – they used it as an explanation of why high-powered businessmen cheat on their wives. It’s so interesting! I tweeted it. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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