Archive for July, 2010

Eat that frog and reduce procrastination

July 5, 2010

Photo courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliffe

Whilst working with a client recently on time management and procrastination, I was reminded of the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. My client was discussing doing the things he didn’t enjoy (his ‘frogs’) first thing, making the rest of the day more enjoyable, and having that resulting feeling of ‘got that out of the way now’!

According to David Allen it’s the smart, creative and sensitive people who have the most undecided things on their To Do lists. This is because they can create very detailed images and thoughts about how a task might play out, which can be off-putting. The tasks don’t even need to be things you have done before, but if you were to perceive them as ‘difficult’, ‘hard’, ‘tricky’ or ‘boring’, for example, your associated feelings will reduce your desire to tackle the task.

Often, it’s the big important life or business-changing things that we put off, and it’s how we perceive them that is the crucial factor.  Think about the things you put off….

  • How do you think of them?
  • What images or thoughts come to mind?
  • What do you say to yourself?
  • How productive and helpful are these thoughts?
  • How can you change them if they aren’t productive?

Taking positive action

1. If your frog is particularly large, try a bit of it each day, rather than ‘all in one go’! For those creatives among you – imagine it separating into, say, 5 or 6 smaller, more manageable (bite sized) frogs, which you can handle over a period of days.

2. Don’t look at it or think about it for too long, unless you can change the image to something more appetising (e.g. a chocolate frog but perhaps not from the Whizzo Quality Assortment!)

3. As David Allen suggests, instead of thinking of the task, think of the 1st action you will take when doing each task. Change your To Do list to your Actions list.

4. Try sauce with your frog to make it more palatable. Adding sauce is about taking any residual unpleasantness away by adding something nice;  eg. having your favourite music on in the background.

What kind of things do you procrastinate about?

How do you overcome this?