Once upon a time, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog in a pond. The frog said to the princess, “I was once a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I will turn back into a prince and then we can marry, move into the castle with my mom where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel lucky for doing so.” That night, the princess had frog legs for dinner.
Have you ever seen a live frog? I don’t mean the kind you pin on a board in Biology class. What I mean is have you ever taken the time to look at it real up close? It’s so ugly isn’t it. Now it may remind you of somebody you know in the work place but that is not the point. The point of the live frog is that Zig Ziglar says, “If you need to wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you wouldn’t want to look at that sucker for too long!”
That ugly live frog represents the one task you hate doing for that day. Get over it by getting through it. Work on it first thing in the morning and the rest of the day will be bright and sunny. The reason why procrastination happens is because many people see the live frog and then they keep it in the pond hoping it will go away. Work on some other tasks and meanwhile, the thought of that live frog sucks the energy away.
I have a thousand and one things to do every day. Invariably I would come across a particular task I’m not excited to work on. That is my ugly frog but believe me, I deal with it first thing. Regardless of what I feel, I just commit myself to doing it. Eat that live frog and the rest of the day would be a walk in the park. Here is what I have realized over the years. The most important tasks I can do each day are often the hardest and most complex. But I need to replace those “don’t-feel-like-doing-it” feelings that I know would degenerate into “why-not-just-do-it-later” urges with “deal-with-it-right-now” guided by a sense of “give-it-my-best-shot” effort and then enjoy the rewards and payoffs for completing these tasks.
Some people manage their time. I manage my tasks. I also manage my energy. There are essential tasks I need to stick to and then there are tasks that seem urgent but in reality are not important. Here is an interesting discovery. Most tasks seem to take the same amount of time to accomplish. But the few essential tasks that are done would add value to my success goals in life. Shelve these and I incur loss. Work on the non-essential tasks may give me the “feeling” of accomplishment, but at the end of the day, I would bring my tired body and wonder why I exerted so much effort and did so many things but feel like I did not accomplish much.
Rushing to go to “happy hour” is not essential. Spending time with the family for dinner is. Watching senseless reality shows is not essential. Reading books and surfing the net researching latest developments in relation to one’s work and expertise is. Jumping from one bar to another with “friends” is not essential. Sitting down, calling or writing a friend is.
Activities and accomplishments are not the same. But you start the day thinking about starting and finishing an important task would motivate you and help you overcome procrastination. “One of these days” becomes “None of these days.”
God has given all of us equal amount of time in a day but it all depends on how we use it wisely. Successful people are people who have the discipline to start on the most important task that is before them no matter how ugly that task seems. Just eat that live frog and don’t look at the sucker for a long time. You’ll end up accomplishing more and become happier in the process. Trust me. It works….now where is that frog….?