Eat that Frog: How to Stop Procrastinating

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 hygienically prepare dinner.

But after a while, it becomes an overwhelming situation – as 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.

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

Stop Procrastinating, Get More of the Important Things Done — Today! There just isn’t enough time for everything on our to-do list—and there never will be. Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure those get done. They eat their frogs.

Read more »

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 afterward, 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?

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