Have you heard of the “eat the frog” method? It’s a productivity technique by Brian Tracy and one of the things I adopted into my own workflow many years ago.
Apparently, the author Mark Twain once said something along the lines of, if you ate a live frog first thing in the morning, you’d be practically guaranteed that would be the worst thing to happen to you that day. Brian’s technique is based on this idea.
And no, neither Mark Twain, Brian Tracy nor myself are advocating the gobbling up of tiny green amphibians.
Rather, Brian says to think of the frog as your “biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.”
I’ve adapted this somewhat for myself since I find that I’m fairly good at tackling the big, important tasks. They’re big and important! I find that combination difficult to ignore. The things I tend to procrastinate on are the ones that I know aren’t going to be pleasant.
For example; many of my past roles included huge chunks of customer service. When I started out, responding to a customer who had left a nasty voicemail was my absolute least favourite thing to do. I’d kick the can down the road and put it off as long as I could. Of course, I’d eventually have to make the call, but this would be after I’d spent hours worrying about it and having it hanging over me.
So, my personal version of “eating the frog” equates to doing the worst task of the day first. Just do it, and move on. It’s usually never as bad as my imagination can make it, and once it’s been taken care of, the mental space it’s been taking up inside my brain is then gloriously free to direct to everything else I have on my to-do list.
If you’ve got too many frogs jumping all around the place, you might need a little help! Remember, a trusted virtual assistant can take over a lot of the tasks that you don’t like doing – following up on unpaid customer invoices is a biggie for a lot of people. Lots of the things that eat up your time are necessary evils, just like chasing payments, but if you could outsource those things to someone else, I wonder what big important frogs you could be gobbling each day?