How about a frog for breakfast? | David Stiernholm

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28 Mar

How about a frog for breakfast?


Datum: 2022-03-28 15:09

Sure­ly you have at some point got­ten the rec­om­men­da­tion to eat the biggest frog first” when it comes to how to struc­ture and plan your workday.

Rather than being an invi­ta­tion to con­sume a some­what extra­or­di­nary culi­nary treat, this actu­al­ly refers to doing the task you feel most reluc­tant towards com­plet­ing first thing when you get to the office in the morning.

Per­haps you have even read Bri­an Tra­cy’s book Eat that frog!” or you might have heard the Charles Dick­ens quote that is said to be the ori­gin of the expres­sion: Start each morn­ing by eat­ing a live frog, and noth­ing worse will hap­pen to you that day.” One of my read­ers shared this famous say­ing with me not too long ago. Thank you for that!

Leave the frog aside for now
But, there are also those who argue for the oppo­site approach — they claim that you should do a hand­ful of short, sim­ple tasks as your first move in the morn­ing, which are com­plet­ed quick­ly and which derive us the plea­sure of tick­ing some­thing off our to-do-list. The pur­pose of doing so is to get that great kick of hav­ing got­ten a few things done ear­ly in the day, which then makes get­ting start­ed on the more exten­sive tasks easier.

Oppo­sites?
Alright. Well, these approach­es appear to be com­plete oppo­sites. One tells you to Do the worst thing first!”. The oth­er to Do the eas­i­est ones first!”.

The ques­tion is which advise you aught to adhere to.

Both.

At least if you ask me and those of my clients with whom I have dis­cussed the mat­ter. My expe­ri­ence tells me that our choice depends on how we feel from one day to anoth­er. Some days we wake up feel­ing great about our­selves and the world around us. Oth­er days we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need a few pats on the back from our­selves to even get to work.

Ham­mer or rubber-mallet?
For this very rea­son it is good to be famil­iar with both approach­es. In my garage at home I have both a ham­mer and a rub­ber-mal­let. I can­not deter­mine which is the best of the two since they are used for dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es. Both tools help me equal­ly, just in slight­ly dif­fer­ent ways.

In the same way these two dif­fer­ent approach­es helps me get going when I am not hav­ing a great day but still have tedious tasks ahead of me, only in two dif­fer­ent ways.

Try this
If you also some­times expe­ri­ence dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting start­ed in the morn­ing and have tasks which are wait­ing your effort and atten­tion, these two strate­gies could help you (there are of course many oth­er ways to get going, but we will focus on these two for now).

  1. Find a way that reminds you of the two tools when you need to be remind­ed the most.
    • Draw a frog on a Pos­tIt and a few to-do-task-sym­bols on anoth­er. Post the notes where they catch your eye when sit­ting in front of your com­put­er. They should be with­in sight from where you are sitting.
    • Find an image of a frog and one which rep­re­sents a few short and easy tasks. Take a pic­ture of both images next to each oth­er and make this pic­ture your com­put­er desk­top back­ground or the back­ground of your smart­phone, so that you see it and be remind­ed often.
    • If you need to be remind­ed every morn­ing, cre­ate a recur­ring reminder in the cal­en­dar which alerts you around the time you usu­al­ly get to work. Let the reminder say some­thing like A frog or a few sim­ple ones?”
    • Or, think of some oth­er way to remind your­self. I am curi­ous of what ideas you might have, so feel free to e‑mail me and tell me.

  2. If what you decide to do as a reminder is some­thing you do not have time to do now, right after fin­ish­ing read­ing this tip, then add a to-do-task describ­ing what you intend to do onto your to-do-list. This way it will be much eas­i­er to get it done instead of it just becom­ing some­thing of which you think that was a good idea, I should try that some time…”.

Get up to speed quick­ly, regard­less of how your day started
If you use the frog-method or the sim­ple-tasks-method when you find it hard to get going in the morn­ing, it will be eas­i­er to actu­al­ly start work­ing and you will soon pick up speed. You will be relieved of the bur­den laid upon you by post­pon­ing tedious tasks, and you will work through your day with greater ease and plea­sure. Hav­ing a bit of speed and flow when work­ing feels so much bet­ter than feel­ing stuck and slow.

What is your way?
I am sure there are many the­o­ries which sug­gest dif­fer­ent ways in which we can deter­mine what to do first. If you do nei­ther the frog nor the short­er tasks first, what do you do instead? Do tell! 

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