Frog for Breakfast?
Your Menu Selections
There are many time management books on the bestseller lists, with new titles added each year. As a long-time student of time management, I’ve observed that “the experts” frequently contradict one another.
Do “The Hard Thing” First
Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is an international bestseller that has sold more than a million copies. The author, Brian Tracy, contends that we should start each day by tackling our most significant and difficult task.
I agree that it makes sense to tackle “the hard thing” first whenever possible. Then, even if the rest of your day goes south, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did the hard thing.
Clearly, there is wisdom in that strategy. But I’ve encountered a wildcard that undermines my plans.
That wildcard is me.
Fighting Against Myself
Do you ever find yourself locked in a battle with yourself?
“For I do not understand my own actions…. I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate.” —Paul of Tarsus
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argued that education held the key to solving life’s problems. Growing up under the influence of those influenced by a platonic worldview, I assumed that all I needed to solve my productivity problems was the right information.
But my actual experience is more consistent with the words of Paul of Tarsus than those of Plato of Athens.
Despite knowing what I should do in a given situation, all too often I’ve watched myself do something quite different. Rather than do that hard thing, I have frittered away the whole day in procrastination.
Can you relate?
In trying to employ this frog-eating strategy, I risk ending the day with that big ugly frog still sitting on my plate … and nothing else accomplished.
A Sly Workaround
A dear friend wrote and published a novel while working full time and completing classes for her doctorate. I asked her: “How do you avoid procrastination?”
“I don’t,” she replied.
“No. I’m always working on multiple projects,” she explained, “so while I procrastinate on one, I work on another.”
My friend employed a sly workaround to defeat her own resistant nature.
There is no silver bullet.
Because humans are complex beings, time management is a complex challenge. So, as you read through these time management strategies, remember this: There is no “silver bullet.”
The term “silver bullet” is used as a metaphor for a simple, seemingly magical solution for a difficult problem. (It’s also known as the only effective weapon against certain types of mythical monsters.)
Although there are simple and effective time management strategies, I’ve found that what works for me today often stops working for me tomorrow.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).
Don’t be afraid to change up the menu. Don’t Eat That Frog! was written to give you a quick and easy introduction to some classic and revolutionary time management strategies. Do what works, until it stops working, and then try something else.
This is the Part 1 in a blog series based upon the book, Don’t Eat That Frog! A Liberating Look at Time Management Strategies. If you missed the introduction, you can read it here.