Getting hard things done without eating the frog
We all have tasks on our list that for some reason we never get to, sometimes because we find them unpleasant, or not important, or they might have some emotional risk for us.
Often they are not immediately important, and so we put off seeing the doctor, or the dentist, or doing that chore. As a primary care doctor, I see this all the time.
Slowly these tasks move from “not urgent” to “urgent” and then suddenly we have to do them now and under stress!
Some writers have suggested that you should tackle the hard stuff first thing in your day, something that is referred to as “eating the frog”.
This seems to be attributed to a quote from Mark Twain who has been quoted as saying “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Luckily for most of our, our jobs rarely require us to eat a frog every day :-)
Instead of contemplating “eating the frog”, I use a little re-framing to help me tackle these unpleasant but important tasks. I spend just a little more time focusing on what is important about it rather than just what is unpleasant.
Most of the time these tasks help me build a strong foundation in some area - health, work, or home.
After re-framing the task as something that will help me strengthen my foundation, I either:
- Break off a small chunk and just do it.
- This was why I have a ‘chore’ timer in my flow timer. I can do almost anything for 10 minutes, and once I’ve started I often get into it and wan’t to get it done.
- Or I do it in my “work on my foundation morning” which I schedule for a whole morning once a month (yes during the work week).
- I do this first thing when my will-power is strongest. I also find that I have to use my chore timers during this time (otherwise it is very easy to get distracted with any other “easier” task).
I hope this helps you to have success in building your foundation in the coming month.