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
Procrastination is such a big problem that there are numerous studies of it. If you are a procrastinator, I urge you to ‘eat the frog first.’
No, it’s not a real frog. The ‘frog’ is the biggest thing that you need to get done. The thing we most avoid. The goal you haven’t started on yet. Or the next big step you need to take on the way there.
Or the frog can be the obstacle in your way. Maybe it’s a big project, deadline or obligation taking up your mental space. You must eliminate the frog to pursue your goal.
“Do what you need to do first,” my daughters hear me say all the time. “Then do what you want to do.”
That’s eating the frog.
Don’t Feed the Frog
Let’s talk about what makes the frog stick around and get bigger and scarier.
Fear. Fear of pain. Fear of imperfection. Fear of commitment.
Often when a task grows out of proportion and turns into a frog, it’s because we don’t understand the proper response or solution.
Instead of confronting the frog, we feed it with our fear. And it just keeps getting bigger.
Eating the Frog
Here are some tips for taking care of that frog and increasing your productivity.
1. Put yourself on the clock. “Take care of difficult calls or emails as quickly as possible,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.” “Procrastinating just makes it harder; getting them done gives a big boost of relieved energy.”
2. Recruit an accountability partner. An effective partner/coach will keep asking questions—the hard ones you need to hear to maintain your path to your goal. They will be insistent. They will ask for details (like where and when and how much) and documentation. A frog barely stands a chance!
3. Explore your underlying resistance. Because procrastination is such a barrier to productivity, scientists study why we have such a problem letting go of it. Resistance can stem from many factors. and understanding these can help you move past them.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Your frog didn’t show up overnight, and won’t go away quickly. Commit to working toward a new habit of facing the frog first, before any distractions or easier tasks. Eating the frog first will give you tremendous energy and momentum.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.