I have struggled with procrastination many times in my life, and I a guessing that you have too.
When I was in high school, and college, I was an extreme procrastinator. Anytime I had a paper due, even if I knew about it for months, I would usually wait until the night before to start writing it. I’m not talking about small papers, I am talking about large research papers. The kind that needs multiple sources for citations. The kind that lead to being stuck at the library for long periods of time.
I would spend the entire night before they were due being awake writing the paper, and then I would convince myself that I did my best work when I was under pressure to help justify my sleepless nights of paper writing.
It wasn’t until after college that I began to realize that I had ben lying to myself for all those years.
Did I get my papers turned in?
And did I get good grades on them?
However, if I am being honest with myself I know that there is no way I was able to write as well under that much pressure as I could have written if I had made a plan and worked on it in smaller pieces over a longer period of time.
I didn’t really care though because I told myself that this only applied to writing research papers, and that after college I wouldn’t have to write anymore.
(Turns out I was kinda wrong about that one since you are reading my blog right now)
I have since realized that this type of procrastination affects every area of my life.
Shortly after college I found a book called Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy, and it made me realize how important it is to stop procrastinating.
Brian Tracy describes a “frog” as:
“Your biggest most import task. It is the one that you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It’s also the one task that can have the greatest positive results on your life at the moment.”
After reading this book I began to search out my “frogs” and take action on them. I am not perfect at it by any means, but I have seen great results from changing my thinking and focusing on making an effort not to procrastinate.
Now I try to tackle my “frogs” first thing every day, and on the days that I do so I see how much of a difference it makes.
3 Reasons to “Eat Your Frog” First Thing Each Day.
- It’s not going to get better as the day goes on. Zig Ziglar says “If you’re going to have to swallow a frog, you don’t want to have to look at that sucker too long!” He is right, the longer we look at our “frogs” the more intimidating they become and the less likely we are to actually take action on them. By choosing to tackle our “frog” first thing in the morning we cut out all the time that we would spend worrying about it for the rest of the day. Getting rid of that wasted time of worry will increase your productivity more than you can imagine.
- It most likely has a high level of importance. As Brian Tracy said in his definition of a frog, “It’s also the one task that can have the greatest positive results on your life at the moment.” Many times the things that we procrastinate on, are the very things that could have the greatest positive impact on our life. By pushing them off, we are also pushing off success, and happiness. If you could only choose to work on one thing each day, would you rather work on the one that has a high level of importance and positive impact on your life? Or would you choose to work on the low value, unimportant task? By procrastinating and working on the menial tasks as a way to push off the larger more important task, you are effectively choosing them over the large important task with the positive outcome.
- It creates the feeling of success. How many times have you gotten to the end of the day to realize that the most important things you needed to do were never done? I have had it happen many times. One thing I have learned from that is that no matter how many other things you get done in the day, if your biggest most important items never got done the day can feel like a failure. By focusing on your most important tasks first thing in the morning, you start your day off with the feeling of success. No matter how many other things you accomplish in the day, you will feel far better at the end of the day because you will have tackled your biggest tasks. All the other small tasks you complete will now feel like a bonus and leave you with a great feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
If you haven’t ever read the book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy I would highly recommend that you give it a read.
The principles from that book have helped me to become less of a procrastinator, and can help you too.
Make it a goal to start “eating your frog” first thing each and every day. Decide what your biggest, most important task is and take action on it first thing in the morning.
Doing so will help you to get far more done, and achieve far greater success!