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Sunday, August 30, 2015

EAT A FROG FOR BREAKFAST...

One of the most self-destructive patterns we can exhibit is procrastination. Even though we know that getting those things done that we tend to put off will make our lives easier or healthier or bring us much joy, we still have a tendency to put them off because we just dread doing them. The good news is that there are ways to counteract these procrastinating habits and they are pretty easy to incorporate into your daily life.

I recently came upon an article by The Art of Simple (theartofsimple.net) which reminded me of an old saying by Mark Twain that I not only try to live by, but which is very effective when applied, “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

This article entitled, Start Your Day by Eating a Frog, lays it out pretty well:

“My husband is currently reading a classic business tome called Eat That Frog. The basic idea is that if you do the worst thing on your plate first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is a cake walk. So if your least-favorite chore is the laundry, and it’s one of the items on your to-do list today, then tackle it first. That way, you can spend the rest of your day knowing you’ve done the most irritating task. Sure, there might be some more annoyances or tediousness – the dishes, the cooking, the helping with the homework – but in knowing you’ve accomplished the laundry, you’ve got fuel and motivation to do the less painful items.

I’m working on this in my own life right now. It’s an obvious concept, but it’s rather new to me – so I’m experimenting as I write this.
For me, my frog right now it’s not a chore – it’s simply working out. I love the after-effects of working out, and I even love the adrenaline rush and the glow of sweat once I get started. But that one hump – the actual starting it – is something I simply dread. I’m not sure why.
So I’m doing my best to tackle my frog-eating — the worst task of my day — first thing in the morning. And right now, it’s exercise.

What Not To Do First

It stands to reason that if you should do your least-favorite task first, that means you should avoid doing your most favorite task – or at least your easiest task – first. We’ve all had those mornings where we start with great intentions of cleaning the house, running errands, balancing our checkbooks, or menu planning – but then we first check our email or see what Al Roker’s up to. Two hours later, and your enthusiasm is gone, along with valuable time you could have used getting stuff done. Somehow, this sets a tone for the rest of the day, and we approach our tasks reluctantly, with a poor attitude, or simply with less passion.

What To Do Instead

1. FIRST, CREATE SOMETHING THAT OUTLINES YOUR TASKS FOR THE DAY.
You can use the Daily Docket, or you can use the back of an old receipt. Whatever works for you, just do something. Fill out a detailed to-do list for your day.

2. NARROW DOWN YOUR LIST TO TEN ITEMS.

You shouldn’t reasonably expect to do more – though if you find yourself having done ten things, you can simply add more items. By starting with a ten-item checklist, you’re not as daunted, and you feel more accomplished to get seven whole things crossed off in one day. Seven out of ten is more impressive than seven out of 34.

3. OUT OF THOSE TEN THINGS, PICK THREE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS (MITS).

These are the things you really need to do today; those tasks of which accomplishing them means a successful day. Write those separately up top.

4. OUT OF THOSE THREE THINGS, PICK THE WORST ONE.

Do that task first. Make that your frog.

5. OUT OF YOUR LIST OF TEN, PICK YOUR FAVORITE OR EASIEST ITEM.

For me, it’s usually checking my email (it’s not my easiest, since I get tons of email, but it’s certainly a task I usually enjoy). Whatever you do, make sure you don’t do that task first. In fact, if you’re daring, don’t do that task until you get all three MITs done. Make doing that task your reward.

So I’m doing this as I go – and so far, it’s working. In fact, I’m slowly starting to enjoy working out more. I’m not sure it’ll ever be my favorite task, but perhaps I’ll eventually go back to starting my day with the dishes.”

For me, most days, my first and worst frog is getting out of bed. I love comfort and my bed is one of the most comfortable places I know so getting out of it each morning is not one of my favorite things to do. If I could lay in it all day and eat and work on my computer, believe me...I would. Each morning I think of a reward for getting up and starting my day...sort of a bribe. I tell myself that if I get up, there is some really great peppermint mocha creamer downstairs that I just bought and fell in love with and which makes my coffee taste sinfully delicious. That gets my eyes open. Then I tell myself that I get a shot at a clean slate today and I can make it any kind of day that I want it to be so that while I drink my coffee I can decide how to set the tone for my day and work on the computer a little before I go to work. That usually gets me out of bed and headed for my coffee and then when I'm up, I'm on my way. Working out is another one of my frogs. I finally found the one mode of exercise that I like (and I have tried them all) and I make it fun. I love to walk and I live in an area that is so beautiful and a walk is like a trip through paradise, literally (if you live in an area where it is difficult or unsafe to walk, go to a second hand store and find a cheap treadmill). I put in my headphones, setting life to music, and set out on my three-mile trek as I take in the beauty and feel total and complete gratitude for my life and how I have the power to make it what I want it to be.

Take that first step...I dare you. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down your frogs. Make a list of all of the things you dread doing that you either NEED to or want to accomplish, pick out the worst one and have it for breakfast. You won't believe how empowered and awesome you will feel each day after you digest that first frog.



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