Have you ever taken a sneaky glance at your companions when you go out for a meal with them?
I don’t know if you notice, but everyone has a slightly different approach when it comes to how they like to eat their dinner.
A friend of mine always makes me smile, because when he gets his food he spends a bit of time weighing up all the different varieties on his plate, and then cuts off a bit of each food group and pops them into his mouth like little sculptures, so he gets to sample all of the ingredients at the same time.
I’m not sure how I approach my dinner; I just sort of get on with it.
However, I was out with an old friend last week and I suddenly realised he had a very funny way of eating.
He’d ordered a steak, chips and salad, and the plate arrived with various accompaniments such as onion rings, a griddled mushroom, and tomatoes on the vine.
Taking a methodical approach to eating
Anyway. As I watched, I noticed that my friend methodically ate every last bit of his salad, without touching the rest of the food.
He then moved on to the mushroom, the tomato, and then the onion rings, eating each item one by one until only the chips and steak were left.
Trying not to stare too hard, I watched him then eat every last chip until all that was left on his plate was the steak, which he went on to eat happily with no accompaniment.
At the end of the meal, I couldn’t resist asking him about his system for eating.
He commented that when he was a child, his parents always stressed the importance of eating healthy foods first, and then filling up on the less healthy items afterwards.
So, his whole approach was to get the stuff which he was not too keen on out of the way (the salad and vegetables), leaving him to enjoy the bit he really liked (the steak) at the end.
Applying the steak and salad method to our online business
I thought about this approach, and realised it’s a pretty good philosophy, not just for mealtimes but for blogging and running an online business.
When we work for ourselves, there seems to be a constant pressure to tackle jobs that we’re not too keen on.
These tasks (the salad equivalent) usually get left until the end of the day, stressed over and worried about, and hang over our heads while we get on with the things that we really like doing.
For example, checking e-mails is usually interesting and distracting.
We do this first when we log on to work, and spend time happily responding to nice mails and leaving the ones we’re not too keen on until last.
This means that we eat our steak first, and then usually don’t have room or time for the salad.
Saving the best until last
Imagine if we approached business like my friend approaches his meals?
We’d get up in the morning when we have most energy, and tackle all the jobs that usually get put off.
We’d tend our finances, focus on difficult tasks, get them all out of the way and have them done by mid-day.
As our energy levels started to slump, we’d still be looking forward to the ‘steak’ jobs for the day.
So, we could channel our most productive time for important tasks, and then feel optimistic and ready to take on the jobs we love, at the point in the day when we’d usually be flagging and losing enthusiasm.
I reckon that this approach could make a real difference to our productivity levels.
Every day, we can do the blogging equivalent of eating our greens, and see how much more we can get done.
I challenge you to try it – and save energy and time for dessert, too!
Dessert could be a great TV show, an e-mail to an old friend, or that new software you’ve been wanting to try out…
Would this approach work for you?
Please share your views in the comments below.