You’ve probably heard the expression, “Eat the frog,” meaning get the most awful task of your day done first thing in the morning and everything else will be much easier to accomplish after that point. You may have seen something like this, “Mark Twain said, ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’” Well, it seems while there may indeed be good reason to take up your own personal ugly frog and begin munching first thing in the morning, there may also be other alternatives to consider.
Plus, apparently the oft misquoted Mark Twain didn’t mention frog eating for either productivity reasons or for gastronomic reasons.
As a matter of fact, Twain constructed a comical adage in which he made fun of one of Benjamin Franklin’s lines and said instead, “Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well.” Unfortunately, it appears many of us prefer to take Mr. Twain’s “put it off” advice over Mr. Franklin’s “do it today” advice.
First Take: Get it done early
Brian Tracy wrote a book titled, Eat That Frog! wherein he espouses the concept of taking up your ugly frog daily and chomping away at it until that froggy task is completed. Your frog is something that needs to get done, but you have absolutely zero motivation to do it. Further, and ironically it is something that needs to get done because it is a step you need to take to help move you toward your long-term goals.
Some reasons that are given by many who encourage early morning frog eating are:
- You have the most will power early in the morning
- It is a small win
- Your brain prefers to do easy tasks, this encourages your brain to behave
- It forces you to prioritize what is of value
- You can face the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you
Consider using this First Take
if you do indeed have a problem with procrastination or need to hone your prioritization skills.
Second Take: Meet your frogs where they live
You may be among those who find mornings are their least productive times. Your frog should be eaten when your energy level is at its highest for the day. And, if you’re like many other Arizona construction contractors, you are likely to find frogs jumping out from behind the saguaros at the least expected time. Don’t turn and run, grab that ugly green hopper and get busy munching.
The trick here is building your power of discernment. Important questions to ask yourself:
- Is this my frog or is it a handsome young prince for someone else?
- Is this truly a frog or is it a pollywog and will it wait until tomorrow?
- Is this frog more important than the other frog I see coming my way?
Consider using this Second Take
if you’re not a “morning person” or if you truly enjoy most of your work, finding you have very few frogs in your work-a-day week.
Third Take: Wait to mess with stress causing frogs until you’re under pressure to perform
Those who advocate early morning frog eating are themselves turning green when they see me suggesting something as “crazy” as “put it off.” There is a whole school of thought that says, procrastination will ruin you. And that school is valid. They go so far as to say that those who claim to work better under pressure are only fooling themselves. And, there is validity to that train of thought also. Many procrastinators have waited until the last minute, only to find they’re doomed.
Yet, there are those who truly do work better under pressure. Maybe you’re one of them. Although I hasten to add, there are very few who do indeed fit this category. So, be cautious before you jump on this lily pad.
This article, written by Amy Morin for Forbes, speaks to the issue of top performing athletes using stress to enhance their performance. Yep – using stress to make themselves do a better job.
Robert Biswas-Diener wrote an article titled, “The 11th Hour: How Working Under Pressure Can Be a Strength,” in which he discusses the difference between procrastination and incubation.
And this Ted Talk by Kelly McGonigal concerning stress and how to use it is quite enlightening.
Consider using this Third Take
if you truly do work better under stress, if you’re an incubator, not a procrastinator.
Oh, what the heck? I may as well throw in the Fourth Take: Cook up the frog – legs
If all this talk of eating frogs has made you hungry for frog legs, I found a restaurant in Tucson which has them on their menu. Look for “des cuisses de grenouille.”
Or, if you just want to know more about the delicacy, you might find this article about how to eat frog legs interesting.
Consider using this Fourth Take
if you already love and enjoy frog legs or if you’re at least curious about the little beasties.
This is another article in the series concerning organizing your construction contracting office, shop, vehicle, and day. You can check out the other articles right here.