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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Secret to Stop Procrastination: Begin Simply, and Simply Begin

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
Mark Twain

Okay, come clean. What's the thing you've been thinking you need to do you just haven't gotten around to doing?

Come on, you know what it is!  It's the very thing~ that if you did it~ it would have a great impact in the way your life worked, or  would help you achieve a life goal, or help you live your life mission. Sometimes it's just something that would make your day-to-day life easier.

The Anticipation is Killing Me!

The thing is, you know there is something on your mind that continues to show up for brief visits every morning, weekend or evening before it disappears as you return to your work, or other such distractions.  And you also know, until you take care of it, it will continue to irritate you.

Years ago a cartoon featured the lovable cat, Garfield, considering the task of getting out to exercise. He thinks, "I probably should get up and exercise, but my feet will start to hurt and my heart will pound. I'll get out of breath, start to sweat, and I won't be able to make it back home. Exercise isn't so bad," he says, "But the anticipation is killing me!"

Like Garfield, the thing you need to do probably isn't so bad, but the anticipation is killing you! That small first step could potentially have a large impact on your life so you over-think it. The anticipation leads to procrastination, killing your motivation to take a step.

Begin Simply, and Simply Begin

To overcome the inertia to taking the first step, begin simply, and simply begin! Consider Mark Twain's philosophy:
"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

Brian Tracy in his book, 'Eat That Frog!', plays off Twain's quirky quip to create 21 ways to stop procrastinating. Tracy equates your 'frog' to your biggest, most important task, the one likeliest to have the greatest positive impact on your life---yes, the very THING we've been talking about!

Tracy goes on to lay down the first two rules of 'frog eating'

'If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.'
'If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very  long.'
Apply the Rule of Frog

Basically, the rule of frog says stop anticipating, and start each day by doing the most important thing that needs doing before you do anything else. Don't sit around thinking about taking that first bite of frog. Bite into the hardest, ugliest task you've been avoiding first thing in the morning ~ and do it every morning.

Leap Frog Your Way to a Satisfying, Productive Life

Begin simply: make a list of 'frogs'. Then simply begin to jump through those self-imposed hoops, leap frogging your way each and every morning to a more satisfying and productive life.

 Why wait to get started? Jump in NOW. Choose something from the list  below...or use the list to jump start your own list.

Frogs to Eat First Thing in the Morning
Make a list of your frogs. Choose an ugly one.
Make that phone call.
Start that school application.
Drive to the Credit Union. Set up Automatic Deposit.
Ask for Help. Pick up the phone. Send the e-mail. Write the grant.
Organize your tax documents. Call for help. Pay your taxes.
Practice learning a new technology skill.
Spend one hour in language lab. Pass the class.
Make a dentist appointment. Put your self-care first.
Make a doctor appointment. Put your self-care first.
Call a sick friend.
Write a letter to someone in need.
Set up a retirement savings account. Start contributing.
Increase the amount contributed to your retirement savings account.
Go to the gym.
Find a new job.
Research retirement options
Research school options
Actively Manage Finances.
Make and Maintain Contact with Good Friends.
Find a Mate. Put yourself in the environment where you'll meet potential mates.


Marthanne G Dedrick said...

These are have put all of this in very simple terms, easily understood by all..provided they will read and accept.

LightartedSue said...

Marthanne--thanks for your feedback. I have to keep it in simple terms for myself! Whatever I say to others....I'm always saying to myself! Thanks for visiting the site!

Sean said...

Love you, mom. You can't be a bigger procrastinator than your "just a minute" son. :P

LightartedSue said...

LOL, Mr Sean 'just a minute' Gibbons! We all have things we need to work on. Exercising control over my own strengths of flexibility, adaptability and openness has lead me to work on coming to closure and finishing. It's all about balance!

Beth Buelow, The Introvert Entrepreneur said...

Susan, thanks for laying this out in such a straightforward way. What I notice is that if I keep procrastinating, the task goes from a relatively innocent tadpole to being recognized as the Guinness Book of World Records' biggest frog!

I love the Garfield cartoon, and that's actually one of the strongest motivators for me: realizing that the anxiety or stress I'm creating by NOT doing it is greater than the anxiety or stress of actually doing it.

Thank you for your clarity and well-timed post :-)

LightartedSue said...

Beth thanks for your comments. I love your blog! You have set up a very professional site for a perfect target market!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

I need to hang that Garfield cartoon right over my walking shoes! Haven't walked once in three weeks - that's my biggest 'live frog'!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Obviously, Jean, I've held on to that Garfield Cartoon in my head all these years for a good reason!

When I need to get back into exercise I apply the 1 minute trick--I agree to put on my shoes (clothes would be good too :) )and walk out the door for 1 minute. If I don't want to do any more, I don't. But once you're out the probability of you doing more is higher.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

dehandSusan, how did you KNOW I needed to read this post again?! I still haven't done anything about that same live frog I commented about before! But ... there's always next week. No, actually, I've decided to procrastinate on that until December 7!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

LOL Jean! It's just one of those things we all must struggle with forever! The way I figure, if I'm stuggling with are you!
Love your sense of humor and lightheartedness.