I was sitting at my desk debating how best to tackle several tasks on my list and I was reminded of a book on procrastination by Brian Tracy “Eat That Frog!” Part of my issue was that I really wasn’t sure how I wanted to accomplish either task in front of me so I was finding things to do instead. The premise of the book is that as Mark Twain once said if you have to eat a live frog first thing in the morning it will be the worst thing to happen to you that day. Tracy compares the most important thing you have to do each day is your “frog”.
I love this analogy and have seen it used several times in time management training. The big message behind using the frog analogy is to encourage people to take action immediately. For me as I’m sitting stalling and dragging my feet I tell myself it’s time to eat the frog. I always smile and it forces me into figuring out the next step on the task that is staring at me. For me it’s a call to action.
The key to breaking the procrastination habit is to get started. First you have to identify the most critical item that you need to complete that day. Once you have that figured out, break it down into steps so you know where to start. Once you know what to do you can plan your day and take the appropriate actions. Once you know what to do you can plan your day and take the appropriate actions.
Remember you don’t have to finish the big complex items at one sitting and you will never finish if you don’t take the first step. Wayne Gretzky has been quoted as saying “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So commit to getting started, break down the task into manageable steps and get moving.
So next time you are struggling to get started on the items on your to-do list, picture eating the ugliest frog possible. Remember if you must eat that frog, then get to it and get it over with quickly. Your day will get better from there. It can be eaten in bites, just get it done!