In a previous post, I detailed a method on how to work through the items in your e-mail inbox. If you missed it, the link below will take you to the article.
After spending time in your inbox, identify the one item you need to do today no matter what, and do it. This could be your most important or most difficult task. A project you need to finish.
Doing the most difficult thing in the morning will make the rest of your day breeze by with what seems like less effort. “Eat That Frog!” is the title of self-help guru Brian Tracy’s book, which details the strategy of taking care of the most important task before tackling the rest of your day.
Difficult could have multiple meanings. The task could be difficult because of complexity. On the other hand, a task that you don’t want to do and dread even the thought of, could be another meaning. Important tasks have a level of stress attached to them and with that, could become a difficult task to start. Whatever the hesitation, this is the thing you want to work on first. Maybe, think of it like when you were a youngster and were told that you had to eat your veggies before you could enjoy your dessert. Make sense?
My time for eating the frog is right after I finish processing my e-mail. I take 30-minutes and do everything I can to complete the task. Depending on how much of the task is left, and if completion is not necessary on the same day, I’ll do as much as I can and work on it again the following day. Some frogs are bigger than others.
My frogs will look different from yours but here are a few I swallowed this past week.
- Monday – Followup phone call to slow paying client
- Tuesday – Cold call to prospective client from a major corporation
- Wednesday – Pay studio bills
- Thursday – Compile business performance data for the month
- Friday – migrate archived work from the past 4-years to a new backup drive
Fortunately, these were on the small side and none hopped over to the following day. Each of them, however, had me feeling anxious and wanting to postpone the task.
Imagine completing that nasty list item first thing in the morning and how relaxed and less stressed you’ll feel the rest of the day. Your mind will be free to contemplate other, more enjoyable parts of your day. You’ll feel like a big helium balloon has lifted your creative spirit to a new height.
There are going to be things you just don’t want to do on any given day. Like these tasks, eating a frog doesn’t sound like much fun. Of course, the alternative is to ignore the frogs until they’ve managed to multiply and take over your life with their incessant croaking. You’re much better off to eat the frog before that happens.
© 2014 J. Christopher Dunn
Photo by bethcoll