Eat That Frog!!! Reminders to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done

When does reality cease to be the point and procrastination take over to keep you from simply taking action on the mundane or complex tasks that bore or scare you? What are you making up about how awful they are going to be anyway? Whether it’s making the bed or making the sales calls, we all spend more time each day avoiding the action than it would take to complete the task. Humans are funny that way, aren’t we?

There are lots of ways to approach this issue of procrastination. Daily, awareness is the first step. Become aware of that voice pops into your head as you think about your “to do” list. What is it saying? Is it a “friend” telling you to relax, that the client report will surely wait until after you finish reviewing your email, or is the bully saying “You’re never going to get what you want anyway, so why bother making the call?” Whoever it is, politely or impolitely tell her thanks for the information, but you need to get moving. Call up that Nike adage and “Just do it!”

The top reasons for procrastination are:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Inertia
  • And a sense that its not important

Which excuse are you using? I’m pretty good at all three, and sometimes in unison. The reality is that what we resist persists. If something is truly unimportant, then cross it off the list and stop feeling guilty about it. Making the bed may fall into this category. If, however, if you like getting into a freshly made bed, then as you turn to leave the room in the morning, ask yourself “What is the cost or reward to me if I spend two minutes getting this straightened up right now?” It may be marital peace, which has its own benefits. As Brian Tracy says in his book “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”, choose the thing that is most difficult or most dreaded and do it first.

Here are a few simple tips to stop procrastinating:

  1. If it isn’t important, decide what to do next. Drop it, delegate it, farm it out, and most important, stop wasting time worrying about it.
  2. If it is important, write it down. Whether you use the back of an envelope, a palm pilot or some other system, make a list of what you need to do, refer to it and cross things off as you do them.
  3. Link the task to the big picture, whether that is a larger goal and/or something you value. For instance, cleaning the kitchen leads to a nice living environment. Finalizing a new client contract leads to increased business and financial success. Creating your business budget gives you a road map for achieving your vision of success.
  4. Envision what it will be like when you’re done. Say to yourself how it will feel. For example, when I send those client notes, I’ll be free of the guilt and my clients will be happy to hear from me.
  5. Find a friend to support you. We often get this done more easily if we feel accountable for our actions. Make the commitment to someone and see what that does for you.
  6. Give yourself a break. Don’t always beat yourself up for not getting something done. Just accept it, decide if you really want the benefits of the action. If not, see tip #1, if yes, then schedule it, take a deep breath and just do it!

The title of this column plays off a great little book by Brian Tracy entitled “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”. Two tips stand out. For immediate impact in your life, determine the thing on your ‘to do’ list that is most difficult or you most dread and do it first. Second, know where you are going. Create the vision and then the priorities to support them.

In the words of James Baldwin, “People ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?” So, create your plans and remember to include time to savor the moments. Even frog legs are a delicacy in some cultures.

As a certified professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader, Dawn helps sales, marketing, advertising and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their career so they’ll love their life!

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