Eat that frog: how to stop procrastinating

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You know these moms who wake up early, like an hour before the rest of the family, and who have cleaned and tidied their entire home, completed a full cycle of washing, drying and folding the laundry and have accomplished a dozen other tasks before 10 a.m.?

I sometimes envy them. But I am definitely not one of them. In fact, I am not a very organized person – I rather call myself chaotic. And I am quite convinced my husband would agree with that description 😉

Unless I really enjoy doing something (like writing), I often get sidetracked by so many other little tasks that need to be done. Even when I make a to do list, I end up doing some of them, while others remain unchecked. Often tasks that I really dislike.

Procrastination problems

Some tasks I dislike I simply have to do – like grocery shopping. I mean, we have to eat, right? So I’ll do groceries – sometimes a day later than planned because I found something edible in the pantry, but in the end I do it at least once a week, often twice.

But there are other annoying projects, like uncluttering the basement, or deep cleaning the kitchen, that I can procrastinate without immediate consequences. No one is going to die from a disorganized basement, right? And as long as my kitchen counter is cleaned, I can still prepare dinner in a hygienic way.

But after a while it becomes an overwhelming situation – like I can barely walk to the other side of the basement because of the clutter, and my kitchen cabinets are a total mess on the inside. And then I get mad at myself – because after all, I feel it’s my job to keep things organized, and I failed. Again.

Motivating myself

In an attempt to motivate myself, I sometimes read articles or books about time management and productivity, or I watch a video. And that’s how I came across the ideas of Brian Tracy. He wrote the book ‘Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’, in which he explains how to stop procrastinating and become more productive.

He cites Mark Twain, who once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. So, he suggested,

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
– Mark Twain

Of course, if you have to swallow that slimy animal, you can probably better do it right away than staring at the frog sitting at your desk all day long.

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Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

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Identifying the frog

It made me ponder: what is my frog? Of course it can be a different thing every day. What thing on my to do list do I really dislike – but it’s best that I do it anyway, or else I will regret not doing it later on? I better do that task first, then. And afterwards I can move on towards more pleasant chores.

So today I identified my ‘frog’ as a bunch of emails I had to send out – the problem wasn’t emailing all those people, but I had to prepare some documents beforehand to send to them, and that part of the task was quite boring. I already postponed it for like a week. But it really was important!

It took me almost two hours, but I did it! Yay! It’s off my list for now.

And the next frog? It might be that cluttered basement… Oh no, actually we are going away for the weekend, so I have to pack first – which I don’t enjoy either. Packing suitcases is always a daunting task for a family of seven, but at least I have something exciting to look forward to.

I guess that basement will have to wait till next week… Seems to me I have enough frogs to swallow in the short term.

So, what is your frog today?

– Anne

What thing on my to do list do I really dislike – but it’s best that I do it anyway, or else I will regret not doing it later on? Read about 'Eat that frog', by Brian Tracy.


18 Comments

  • Darren

    June 17, 2017

    A really clever blog that I simply had to read. The title was a real eye catcher. Congrats Anne.

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 17, 2017

      Thank you for your kind comment, Darren!

      Reply
  • Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups

    June 26, 2017

    I love the title of this post, I agree that motivation is key.

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 26, 2017

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  • I get up early to get stuff done but I always feel like I have 200 frogs throughout my day. I definitely need to do better in identifying the biggest and most important one!

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 26, 2017

      Yes, I know that feeling 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • Amanda

    June 26, 2017

    I am definitely an early riser to get some things accomplished before the chaos begins. 😉 But, I could absolutely use something to help my define my frogs, and how to better tackle them.

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 26, 2017

      Yes, when I manage to get up earlier and do a lot of stuff already in the morning, it feels great! However, it doesn’t come easy for me, naturally. I am working on it 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • H

    June 26, 2017

    What a lovely post. It’s so true and I definitely need to remember this more often. I pretty much have a small army of frogs most weeks ☺️

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 26, 2017

      Yes, me too! Frogs all over the place. Just eat one at a time 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Christine C

    June 26, 2017

    I am the same way about things I don’t want/like to do. One of the times I felt most productive was when I made myself pick one thing on that list to accomplish each day, but I think you’re right. Doing that thing first and getting it out of the way would be much better than dwelling on it all day!

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 26, 2017

      Yes, it makes me really feel productive when I tackle that big ‘frog’ first 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

      Reply
  • Marya

    June 26, 2017

    Ugh..everyday there’s frogs! I find it helpful just to bullet list them and get to them first thing if I can.

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 27, 2017

      I use bullet lists also! It feels great to check them off. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • Amy

    June 26, 2017

    Ugh, I can so relate to this! I’m so bad at procrastinating and then I hate myself for it! Love this read 🙂

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 27, 2017

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  • Terryn Winfield

    June 27, 2017

    I read his book a few years ago and I reference it often. My husband rolls his eyes, lol. But it seriously is so worth it! It has really changed my productivity for the better.

    Reply
    • Anne

      June 28, 2017

      I like the way Brian Tracy word things, it resonates with me. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Reply

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