How to Mitigate Your Daily Dread: Eat The Frog

My most read LinkedIn article so far this year is about time management.

And I get it. Not having enough time is a universal pain point for most people.

Since this topic seems to be on many minds lately, I wanted to discuss another aspect of time management I haven’t covered.

DREAD + DELAY = PROCRASTINATION

Most of us have daily tasks we dread doing. And one emotion I think is underestimated is dread. LOL. 

No seriously. This is because procrastination gets its roots from dread. Dread is one of the primary emotions that keeps us from getting things done. 

And when we don’t get things done, what happens? We experience even more dread and procrastinate more. It’s a vicious circle.

In one study, approximately 50% of people surveyed reported that their procrastination was a result of some dreaded task characteristic.

Two common task characteristics are task aversiveness (a task is considered unpleasant or boring) and timing of rewards and punishments (a task that has rewards or punishments associated with it that are far in the future).

This procrastination data all makes sense, but what can we do about it?

We can “Eat the Frog.”

THE EARLY BIRD EATS THE FROG

The “Eat the Frog” productivity method was first discussed by life coach and motivational expert, Brian Tracy, in his bestselling book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time.

What does “Eat The Frog” really mean?

There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain that if the first task you do every day is eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve completed the worst thing you’ll have to do all day.

“Eat the Frog” is a metaphor (a gross, but memorable one) for taking on your most difficult task, but it is also the one most likely to have a positive impact on you.

The Eat The Frog Productivity Method is for anyone who:

  • Struggles often with procrastination
  • Does not make progress on important things, but gets a lot done otherwise
  • Has difficulty sticking with a productivity system.
  • Has trouble deciding what to tackle next
  • Feels overwhelmed by their task list
  • This concept confronts procrastination head-on. It urges people to tackle their
This concept confronts procrastination head-on. It urges people to tackle their most dreaded task first.

Most people will not completely stop procrastinating (hey we’re only human), but we can identify when we do and have a plan to reduce the amount of time we waste.

THE FROG IN ACTION

I’m no stranger to procrastination. I’ll likely always struggle with it. But one area of my life where I’ve learned to “Eat the Frog” several times a week is exercising.

I hate to exercise. There I said it.

I was never a good athlete in school. And I wish exercise wasn’t so good for you. I could think of a thousand other things I’d rather be doing.

But I always feel great after I exercise. I never experience regret after my workouts. However, it takes everything I have to drag myself out of bed early in the morning and go to my workout.

After years of putting off going to the gym until late in the day and/or not at all, I decided I needed to take more control over this part of my life. I was torturing myself more in the hours leading up to working out than during the workout itself!

I was fretting for several hours about a task that would have taken one hour. Ridiculous!

Now I work out with a group of great people three times a week like clockwork. I rarely miss a class. Best of all I get a dreaded task done and out of the way early.

On the days I work out, I get so much more done throughout the day. No more avoiding bigger tasks because I’m too busy with the smaller, less important ones.

COMBINE "EAT THE FROG" WITH OTHER PROVEN METHODS

In my last article about time management, I shared a link to a quiz on Todoist.com that helps you hone in on what type of productivity method can best work for you.

You can try a couple of these methods at the same time. I scored the highest on Time Blocking on the quiz. This involves scheduling blocks of time on your calendar and focusing on only one task during that period and nothing else.  

I recently tried combining this “Time Blocking” with “Eat the Frog” and it works well for me. It allows me to focus on one task at a time while tackling my most dreaded task early in the day.

The Frog method works because it turns a vicious cycle of procrastination into a virtuous one. When you get meaningful tasks done, this leads to a feeling of overall satisfaction and accomplishment.

When you experience a win first thing in the morning, it propels you to keep that momentum going throughout the day.

FINAL THOUGHT

We can’t always control the eternal factors happening around us. But we can control what gets our attention and what doesn’t.

Time is our most precious resource. I try to make each day count and tackle the dreaded tasks first. It becomes a habit after a while. And that makes life much easier, more pleasant, and more productive. Now onto the next dreaded task!

Dina Marovich

Marketing Consultant, Direct Response Copywriter & Advertising Strategist. Meaningful results for your business.

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