Should I Do Easy Tasks or Hard Tasks First?

Task management is the process of controlling the life cycle of a task from its commencement to completion. It involves planning, testing, and tracking activities to achieve desired objectives. One of the age-old debates in task management is whether to tackle easy tasks first or take on the more challenging ones right off the bat. This discussion aims to delve deep into this controversy and illuminate each approach’s merits and demerits.

Task Prioritization

The art of task prioritization lies at the heart of personal and professional productivity. It is more than a mere organizational skill; it is a strategic approach that requires a deep understanding of the tasks at hand. To prioritize effectively, one must evaluate each task by dissecting its complexity and measuring its relevance against the ultimate objectives we aim to achieve. It is a critical thinking process where one must weigh the importance of each activity and its potential impact on our goals.

Recognizing the difference between urgent and important tasks, and the potential long-term benefits or consequences of each action, is fundamental. This discernment allows us to categorize tasks and allocate our time and resources efficiently, ensuring that we focus our efforts on activities that propel us toward our desired outcomes. It’s about aligning our daily actions with our longer-term plans and visions.

Task prioritization plays a significant role in managing time. Effectively prioritizing tasks is intrinsically linked to time management. It has a direct and profound impact on how we structure our days. By understanding how to prioritize, you are essentially mastering the skill of time allocation. This means that you can organize your schedule in a manner that avoids squandering time on low-priority activities. Instead, you dedicate your most valuable resource—time—to high-yield tasks that drive you closer to your aspirations.

When done correctly, task prioritization aligns your daily activities with your larger goals, ensuring that each hour is spent contributing to your success. It’s about creating a balance where time is not just passed but invested, and where the return on this investment is maximized by focusing on what truly matters.

Should I Do Easy Tasks or Hard Tasks First?

Reasons to do Easy tasks first

One strategy for task management is the completion of easier tasks before moving on to more challenging ones. This tactic comes with several advantages that can contribute to a more efficient workflow. For starters, tackling simpler tasks immediately can kickstart your productivity engine. The quick completion of these tasks delivers a burst of accomplishment early on, which can elevate your morale and build momentum for the day.

Furthermore, checking off these less demanding tasks can lead to a domino effect of productivity. It’s like warming up before a rigorous workout; you prepare your mind for the more demanding tasks ahead. This approach also conserves your cognitive reserves. Given that each decision we make can drain our mental energy, starting with less taxing tasks conserves our cognitive bandwidth for more complex challenges, thereby optimizing our brain’s capacity throughout the workday.

Reasons to do Hard tasks first

Conversely, there is a strong case for diving into the most challenging tasks right off the bat. This tactic is often heralded for its ability to maximize productivity. By leveraging the peak of your mental acuity, typically at the start of your day or schedule, you can tackle complex tasks more efficiently. This not only ensures that these demanding tasks receive the attention and focus they require but also takes advantage of your refreshed state after a period of rest.

Attending to the harder tasks first can also safeguard the quality of your work. Intricate tasks usually carry greater significance and are more prone to errors if executed in a state of fatigue or rush. Addressing them early reduces the chances of mistakes that can occur when fatigue sets in. Moreover, this approach serves as a barrier against procrastination. By confronting the most daunting tasks head-on, you eliminate the possibility of them being indefinitely postponed, which is a common pitfall when difficult tasks are left lingering on your to-do list.


How to Decide What to Do First: Easy or Hard Tasks

Choosing whether to tackle easy or hard tasks first in your daily routine is a subjective decision that greatly depends on personal work styles and energy levels. Some people find that diving into the most challenging tasks when they’re freshest, often at the start of the day, gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes the rest of their tasks seem more manageable. In contrast, others may prefer starting with simpler tasks to build momentum and ease into their workday.

The key to making this decision lies in understanding your peak performance hours. Most individuals experience fluctuating energy levels throughout the day, and identifying when you are most alert and focused can help you align your tasks accordingly. If you’re a morning person, for instance, tackling the harder tasks first may be more productive. Conversely, if your energy peaks in the afternoon, you might want to reserve complex tasks for that period.

Another factor to consider is the urgency and deadlines associated with your tasks. Time-sensitive tasks, regardless of their complexity, often need to be prioritized to meet deadlines. Balancing urgency and task difficulty requires a strategic approach to ensure both immediate and long-term goals are met effectively.

Strategies for Effective Task Management

To efficiently handle your daily workload and prioritize tasks, several strategic methodologies can be employed. These strategies are designed to enhance productivity and manage time more effectively.

One popular approach is the Eisenhower Matrix. Named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, known for his exemplary productivity, this method involves categorizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. The matrix has four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. By placing your tasks within these quadrants, you can objectively assess which tasks need immediate attention and which can be scheduled for later or delegated.

Another powerful tool in task management is the Pomodoro Technique. Created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this technique is based on the principle of timed intervals of focused work followed by short breaks. Typically, you work for 25 minutes (one Pomodoro) and then take a five-minute break. This cycle is repeated four times before taking a longer break. The Pomodoro Technique is especially beneficial for large or daunting tasks, as it breaks them into manageable segments. This not only helps maintain concentration and avoid burnout but also provides a structure to work more effectively.

In addition to these methods, it’s also helpful to maintain a well-organized task list. This can be a simple to-do list or a more complex system like a digital task manager. Prioritizing tasks daily and adjusting your plan as needed can greatly enhance your productivity and give you a clearer picture of your day ahead. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your priorities ensures that you’re always working on the most important tasks at hand.


To recap, both doing easy tasks and hard tasks first have advantages. The decision depends on various factors, including individual preference, productivity patterns, urgency, and nature of the complete tasks. Employing effective strategies like the Eisenhower Matrix or the Pomodoro Technique can also be beneficial in managing and prioritizing tasks.

Ultimately, it’s essential to remember that the right method for task management is often personalized and might be subject to change. So, experiment, identify what works best for you, and tackle your tasks with confidence and strategy.