Well over a year ago I came across an article on Simple Mom entitled, Start Your Day by Eating a Frog. Now I know they are progressive and creative over there but when I saw that title pop up in my RSS Feed I had to wonder what the heck they were talking about. It is true that many people eat frogs and I wondered if perhaps they had found a way to make one taste like the best red velvet cupcake ever. To my pleasant surprise I found out it was a metaphor.
The quote originated with Mark Twain.
“If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.”
From that quote, you will find tons of articles, post and even a book and video in regards to what that means about procrastination, tackling your to do list and just getting things done. I’ll post a few links below but here’s my take on it without needing to buy the book and matching mug.
The jest of this quote means, if you do the most difficult thing/task/project/chore first, you know you’ve gotten it out of the way. Your day can only get better. How many times have you had a task you needed to complete and you kept putting it off? That procrastination began to take over your day. You start to dread each approaching hour because you keep remembering you haven’t started that project yet. So you put it off and check your email again. You put off cleaning your apartment and you watch some more tv. You find that its hours later and your most dreaded or hardest task still isn’t complete. And if you’re anything like me, occasionally you put it off for yet another day.
Now some of you may need motivational speakers or you may need the Eat the Frog book to give you helpful tips on how to stop procrastinating. Save your $20 bucks. Just EAT THE FROG!
Last night when I came home from work I knew I needed to clean my apartment, pack for a trip and nap. I wanted to just nap first. I kept telling myself this was the logical choice since I really needed my rest and once I awoke I’d be really refreshed and would pack and clean with a better attitude. I almost did it. On the way to my bedroom, it hit me. I literally said it outloud to myself, “Sheena, eat the damn frog.” Meaning, Sheena clean your apartment, pack your bags and then you can sleep until the taxi comes.
I did it and my evening panned out great. I actually finished a lot quicker than expected and ended up adding five more pages to my visual collage art travel journal.
I’m not prone to procrastinating but occasionally I’ll get into a funk and I have to find ways to manage the task I don’t want to do. If its a larger project, I break it down into smaller pieces and attack the smaller pieces until I find that the entire thing is complete. Or I delegate my task, leverage others and find creative solutions. But sometimes, I just have to tell myself, “Eat the frog Sheena.”
What I like about this approach is that its no nonsense. It’s not saying pretend that this dreaded task is wonderful. It’s not trying to play tricks on your mind like oh by washing the dishes that you don’t want to do you’ll find greater creative clarity. NONE OF THAT. There’s nothing creative to me about washing dishes. I just don’t like to do it. But with “Eat the Frog” its just saying, do it. Just get it out the way. No frills, no games, no tricks just do the thing. In no way are they trying to make me think that this “frog” task is as tasty as “chicken.” It’s a frog, plain and simple.
Read Simple Mom’s approach. (The link is posted at the top of this post) I like her breakdown. Check out the video below. It’s pleasant. And then read Charlie’s article. I love his style. Then EAT THE FROG. You’ll find that the rest of your day is a breeze after that.
EAT THE FROG LINKS
Eat That Frog video
Eat That Frog book
A Frog A Day Keeps Your Anchors Aweigh by Charlie Gilkey