We have all been there with pages of to do lists and tasks coming out of our ears, yet we chose to sit there and struggle to move forward with any of it. Instead we aimlessly procrastinate, make more lists and plans of how to move forward, however still remain in the same place 5 hours later with maybe 1 or 2 smaller tasks crossed off.
Procrastination is the killer of productivity however so many times when all we need to do is be productive it creeps in and blocks us in our tracks.
Writer Mark Twain famously once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” and it’s probably true because I am sure you would agree a frog for breakfast would be less than pleasant.
Many years later this famous saying was turned into a productivity method called ‘Eat The Frog’ which means that you should always tackle your hardest yet most important task on your to do list each morning before moving on to any other tasks.
This could include many things such as the presentation you’re nervous to do, the deadline that is looming over you or the thing you have been putting off because you aren’t 100% sure of how to do it.
Here are some simple steps to help streamline your day and say goodbye to procrastination.
- Get clear on your goals, what do you need to accomplish that week or even month. Set a deadline and start to break down the end goal into tasks which need to be split over the amount of time you have until the deadline.
- Focus on the 20% which is likely to equate to 80% results which is ‘your frog’ instead of focusing all your time on the 80% tasks which will only equate to 20% in results. Each day always prioritise one 20% task, do not move on until you are happy.
- Our frogs which are most likely the big, difficult tasks are the main cause of our procrastination as quite honestly we don’t want to or even know how to do them. It’s time to purposely procrastinate over the low -value tasks and focus on your frog first.
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Preparation is key with ‘eat the frog’ otherwise your brain will instantly go back to its old ways and start attempting the low-value tasks because this is the known and safe territory.
- If you find yourself continually not being able to move forward with your frogs, you may need to have a closer look into what’s holding you back. Do you need some more training in this area, is it definitely a task that falls in your remit, is your diary so full of meetings that you potentially don’t need to attend. It’s time to identify the constraints and find a solution on how to eliminate them.
So you can stay focused on completing the most impactful work, It’s time to start focusing on your main goals and sub-tasks which are essentially your frogs. All the other elements support you in getting through that frog in one piece.
Like with any new technique you need to practice it and make it a priority, so that eating the frog first thing every morning becomes a non-negotiable priority. It’s important that the technique you chose really works for you so if you are feeling stuck with productivity their are many others to try such as the Think Week Method or Pomodoro Technique.