Deciding where to start: Why do we do what we do when we do it? What criteria do we use for allocating our time? We have many different ways of deciding what we are going to do at any given point during the day. Following are twenty-one of the most common criteria we use to govern our time:

1. We do what we like to do before we do what we don’t like to do.

2. We tackle what we know how to do faster than we tackle what we don’t know how to do.

3. We do the easy jobs before we do the difficult jobs.

4. We do the quick tasks before we do those that require a lot of time.

5. We do activities we have the resources for.

6. We do things that are scheduled (for example, meetings) before we do nonscheduled things.

7. We sometimes do things that are planned before we do things that are unplanned.

8. We respond to the demands of others before we respond to demands from ourselves.

9. We do jobs that are urgent before we do jobs that are important.

10. We readily respond to crises and emergencies.

11. We do activities that are politically expedient or those that advance our personal goals.

12. We wait until a deadline approaches before we really get moving on projects.

13. We do things that are interesting before we do uninteresting things.

14. We do things that provide the most immediate closure.

15. We respond on the basis of who wants it.

16. We respond on the basis of the consequences to us for doing or not doing something.

17. We tackle small jobs before we tackle large jobs.

18. We work on things in the order of their arrival.

19. We work on the basis of the squeaky-wheel principle (the squeaky wheel gets the grease).

20. We work on the basis of consequences to the group.

21. We do things by habit, without thinking about the best sequence.