Eat That Frog – Time Management

Eat That Frog – Time Management


Cute, isn’t he?

Why is it that the phrase is to get the monkey off your back when you’ve got an outstanding issue that is hanging around but to eat the frog when you need to do the thing you don’t want to do? Maybe that’s the elephant in the room! Ok, I’ll stop mixing metaphors.

Maybe eating a frog is less unappealing than eating a monkey.

Either way, I’m in the position of having to eat something.

For the past two months I’ve been avoiding a couple of unpleasant / uninteresting / too-difficult tasks. Tasks relating to closing off my previous business.  I really can’t avoid them forever, as much as the child in me wants to! They just HAVE to get done and no amount of wishing and hoping on my part will make them go away or obviate the need to do them.

So, today is the day.

Today I get to eat that frog.

Brian Tracy coined the term and it means to do the toughest, ugliest, most difficult task first before you do anything else. Once you get that done you’ll feel a sense of relief and everything else you have to do will seem easier. Good principle of time management.

For most of us, our natural tendency is to do the easier things first and clear the decks of those before getting into the gnarliest thing. What tends to happen is you find so many of the tasks that need doing that you never get to the task and it is put off, and postponed and rescheduled until the right time. When you have the right tools, the right mindset, someone asks for it, or whatever will finally enable you to approach it. If you are a procrastinator, you can put it off indefinitely!

One thing I’ve learned from my study and practice of human psychology is that we are motivated more by the avoidance of pain than the reward of pleasure. That’s why promising to do something nice for ourselves in order to do something unpleasant or difficult sounds good but is not necessarily a great motivator. You need to make the pain of not doing it greater than the pain of doing it. If you wait for the natural course of events to do that for you, your reputation is threatened if others are involved and waiting on you to complete the task.

So, I’m at that point with these tasks. The pain of doing them is now lower than the pain of not doing them. I have a future to move into fully and these are mentally holding me back because they are undone. They sit like a monkey on my back. No. More like a 300lb gorilla! And pretty soon, others are going to hassle me for them. And that’s my rep at stake.

So, now is the time. I’ve picked the one I will attack first. To ensure I get it started I’m heading off to the library – changing my environment changes my frame of reference and attitude – it also means there are no other tasks crying out for me to do!

I just hope the library doesn’t see me eating the frog: eating and drinking aren’t allowed.

10 thoughts on “Eat That Frog – Time Management

  1. Mel,

    This is an excellent post! I love your tone of voice and how relaxed your style of writing is. It’s also serious yet fun. I’ve tweeted and G+ed your post.

    Good luck with that frog. 🙂

  2. Oh! I can totally relate to this today. I’ve got a frog to eat this Friday and I’m not looking forward to it…but it’s just time. Good luck to both of us with that frog. 🙂

    1. Sorry to keep you curious but some frogs just have to remain incognito :). Thanks for your comment, Bonnie.

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