As a teen, my mother would constantly nag me with the popular saying: “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today” with regard to cleaning my room, closet, writing a thank you note or whatever chore I’d rather put off. And as much as I groaned and moaned when I’d hear my mom say this pestering quote, I have to admit, it has helped me throughout my career to better manage my time.
As the saying goes, time is money and lots of it gets lost in disorganization and disruption. Today, we also deal with a constant barrage of technology, people and tasks that can contribute to that procrastination – and it’s likely not going to get any better. Many people find they flit from one task to another trying to get it all done.
Unfortunately, there just isn’t time in our day to tackle everything on our “To Do” list, and chances are there never will be. Successful people recognize this learn to focus on the most important “To Dos” and make sure they get done.
Brian Tracy wrote a great little book called Eat That Frog! The book helps people get over procrastinating. He also plays with a couple of quotes from the famed Mark Twain that help us to remember what we’re meant to do and how to stop putting things off. The idea is this:
“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”
We’re often guilty about procrastinating, and this stops us from accomplishing things. And as you probably already know, when we procrastinate about one thing, it can interfere with getting other things done, too.
As Mark Twain said, “The rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.”
This quote is about taking the frog – the thing we’re procrastinating over – and eating it. Clearly, after you’ve eaten a big, gross frog, everything else you have to do that day is going to be easier than what you started off with.
By procrastinating, that task we’re putting off often becomes a bigger, more daunting task than it really is, and the more we think about (rather than doing it), the more space it can take up in our head and the more precious time we waste.
This is a simple concept that can have a profound impact on our results. There’s no self-satisfaction in knowing we’re letting things get away from us, and we feel better and more motivated when we go ahead and get these things done.
So go ahead. Make that “To Do” list. After all, there’s no greater feeling than to eat the big, ugly frog and cross it off your list!