Eat Your Frog First
Techniques for starting your working day are countless - Have a morning ritual, no email before 12pm, plan your day the night before, ditch multi-tasking...
There are also two conflicting ways about what to start with. I used to be a proponent of the "start with something easy to get into the flow" attitude. Recently, I was introduced to the frog concept by a friend: "If the first thing you do in the morning is eat alive frog, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!" Author and motivational speaker, Brian Tracy, identifies your frog as the most difficult thing on your to-do list; the thing you are most likely to procrastinate. He proposes that if you "eat your frog first" it will give you energy and momentum for the rest of the day. If you don't, he will sit there on a plate, draining your energy.
So the other day, I decided to try it. I picked a massive frog that had been sitting on my plate for months. the more I procrastinated on it, the bigger it grew in my head. Here's the story:
We've had a partially broken oven for about a year now, despite having paid for insurance on repairs. Frogs are often things we feel overwhelmed with, and I wasn't looking forward to sifting through papers written in a foreign language (where I live), and calling and speaking in this language that is not my first. It took a while to even record this frog on my to do list. And then it sat there, big and slimy, croaking at me every day.
Here's what shifted things: I figured out the smallest possible starting step, something I wouldn't feel the need to procrastinate. For me, it was thinking about where I would have filed the paper with the phone number on. Now, even that seemed a bit overwhelming for me, because the folder is full and messy and there's actually two possible folders it could be in...So I utilized a resource, and a very precious one at that. I got my dear husband to find the paper for me. (Actually the real story was that he cracked first after living with a broken oven for a year; but the first story sounds better.) But the point is that once that tiniest first step was done, once he gave me the paper, I left it on my work desk and it only took me 3 more days to make the call. It was surprisingly easy and to cut a log story short, I made the call and they came and fixed it 2 days later. Right after i made that call, I felt on top of the world - like a huge burden had been lifted, like I could breathe again and most importantly; like I got charged with a surge of motivation to try another frog. That was the energy and momentum that eating that first one created.
1) What's your frog for next week?
2) What's the first and smallest possible step you can take to eat it? (Just one teensy little bite.)
3) If even that seems overwhelming, what or who can help you? External resources.
4) TAKE THAT BITE!
I'd love to hear your experiences below.