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Eat That Frog!

9th August 2018
A saying from the 18th Century is as true today as then but what does a frog have to do with a technique for Time Management? It's all to do with not postponing unpleasant tasks but tackling them sooner rather than later…

I first came across this expression in the title of a book on Time Management by Brian Tracy.  He was referring to the fact that successful people have a habit of doing things that less successful people don't like to do.  They don't necessarily like doing them either, but their disliking is subordinate to their strength of purpose.

He writes that it has been said for years that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!

In fact, said for centuries might be more accurate, as a quote attributed to a French writer who lived in the 18th century propounded a similar concept.  Nicholas Chamfort (1741-1794), at one time secretary to Louis XVI's sister, was known for his witty quotes and observations. One of these was:

“A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over.

So where does this fit in with Time Management?  

Your "frog" is your biggest most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it now.  It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

If you have to eat a live frog, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long.  In other words, don't postpone tasks that are unpleasant – they seldom get more pleasant! 

Sometimes this is easier said than done!  But when I started researching Time Management techniques, I quickly realised that recognising and dealing with your ‘frog”, or sometimes “frogs”, really does pay dividends. Procrastination affects us all unless we are really disciplined – how many of us can relate to the diagram below? 

Procrastination diagram showing the reality of completing tasks before deadlines

When I wrote our Time Management course I learnt techniques that helped me tackle my frogs. But theory is all very well; without a framework to work to, then the theory can easily be overwhelmed by the pressure of life and work.  One of the issues of learning Time Management skills is that people seldom have time to implement them!  However, if you can learn some simple skills in Outlook, based on tasks, but expanding these to support the time management theory, then you have a structure in place to succeed.

If you would like to improve your Time Management skills, including learning how to put them into practical use in Outlook, then please get in touch with us.

Eat that Frog - title of a book about Time Management by Brian Tracy