Thursday, April 26, 2018

Give Us This Day Our Daily Frogs

Or, Buried Under Frogs Is A Wet, Squirmy Place To Be.

I'm a fan of self-help books. I've consumed about 20 of them. For me, the very best of the lot is Brian Tracy's Goals. I just finished his Eat That Frog! and I think it places second.

Eat That Frog! makes a simple suggestion. On your list of things to do, do the biggest and very worst task first, before you do anything else. Do it to completion. Don't open email, don't go on social media, don't do anything until you eat the frog. When you're done, eat the second biggest, ugliest frog and so on.

The rest of the book is spent on frog identification and differentiation as well as the benefits of an all-frog diet.

I was convinced, so I tried it and it has worked like a charm. Each day, I make a list of the day's frogs and I go at them, one at a time. Unless email is directly related to frog consumption, it doesn't get opened until the afternoon. By about 1 PM, my brain is usually toast, so the most I can do is email and small tasks. I have discovered that I can eat a couple of frogs each morning.

The premise is that you will never run out of little, nagging things to do. Your email inbox will never be empty and all those small odds and ends will never be completed. You can burn up your day's mental energy dealing those relatively unimportant problems and never tackle the big ones. In order to get large, difficult and complicated problems solved, you need to go at them when you're fresh and have the most energy.

Frogs are addictive

I've been doing this for a week now and I love it. I have dealt with a couple of major tasks that have been hanging over my head for months and it feels great to have them behind me. So much energy is released when you eat a frog! I feel like I'm getting things under control even though I'm not working longer hours than I had been before.

Devouring frogs gives me hope. I've lamented on this blog lately that I have more to do than I can possibly get done, but my successes in the last week have shown me that I really can get it all done, at least everything important. This weekend, my frog list is simple: deal with all of the paperwork associated with my father's recent passing. Insurance claims, pension documentation, account modifications and so on, that's this weekend's frog. I won't stop until it's done. Possibly more importantly, I won't waste my time worrying about anything else.

Eating frogs has one more advantage. While you're doing it, you can easily find yourself in the zone, that mental place where all of your attention and energy is focused, directed at that one task. I'm convinced that this is a direct result of knowing that what you're doing matters, not to anyone else necessarily, but certainly to you. You know that this particular frog has been pestering you for a long time and when you're done, it will be gone from your life forever.

So there you have it. I recommend the book highly and I further recommend a diet rich in frogs.

Trust me, they're delicious!

1 comment:

Foxfier said...

Works in home schooling, too.

Our eldest was dragging out her math until 6pm. Just refused to get down and DO it-- until I told her she had to do it first.

Suddenly, the math is usually done by 9am (Start time is 8:30) and she's regularly done by lunch.