Overcoming Procrastination - Eating that frog
Following on from , I said that I would expand on the two exercises the delegates got the most from, the Eulogy and Eating a frog. Whilst both are great standalone tools, they work best when supported by other content, and live discussion around them. I’ll come back to the Eulogy next week.
Eating a Frog
I’ll start with the easier one of the two, eating a frog. You may have already heard of this before? This comes from our tenet on Time. We like to cover this off early to get our delegates in the right space to take on more challenging changes later in the programme.
Let’s first recap what some of our clients said about this:
Eating Frogs (overcoming procrastination) - tackling issues head-on rather than let issues bottle up
Not putting stuff off. Not being the ostrich putting the head in the sand.
Eating a Daily Frog!
There were 6 delegates on that call, so half of them, found this one of the best tools. So let’s explore it more.
One of the biggest problems a lot of people face when it comes to sabotaging their own time is procrastination. Known as Nature’s assassin, it’s there to help us. It’s the mind's way of saying, hold on, something does not feel right here. But like a lot of our systems, it sometimes gets it wrong, well for a lot of us, myself included, it often does. So we find ourselves procrastinating over the smallest of things and the biggest of things alike. Those big things usually get bigger for our procrastination. This is now exacerbated by the current working arrangements where the accountability to others is a bit more distant and we’ve probably got more autonomy over our working day than ever before. This is perfect conditions for the procrastinator to procrastinate.
In the 1980’s Brian Tracy first coined the phrase, to Eat a Frog. This spurned a best selling book and catapulted Brian into Guru status. He is still very active in developing people today. The notion of eating a frog is a simple one:
If you have to eat a live frog today, there is never going to be a better time to do it than right now.
Not only will not eating the frog often make it get worse, but the frog will also sit on our shoulder all day reminding you it needs to be eaten, thus sabotaging your mental clarity and energy over everything else.
So each day you should identify your frog(s) and get them eaten. Whatever it is, from that difficult conversation to a team member, to making that sales call, to that major project, to dealing with a complaint, it’s got to be tackled. Now by that, I don’t mean go blundering in unprepared, I’m saying get going on it. For that complaint, maybe the next action is to find out more facts from the team, before calling the customer back. But don’t get stuck looking for perfection and miss the opportunity to recover the relationship. Similarly with those big projects. Sometimes, their vastness is the reason we procrastinate. But the old phrase goes:
How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time
Making a start is often the key, then making sure you progress at least one aspect or bite.
Tracy goes on to say, you should always start with the biggest and hardest frog each day. That way the rest of the day will be much easier. I’d temper that with just thinking about your energy at that point. If your energy is low first thing and you are a little introverted, and your frog involves others, this might actually zap your energy. Maybe tackling a project that doesn’t involve others might be better for you. But just don’t use this an excuse to not eat the frog!