The idea of having to eat a live frog is a good analogy for the concept of procrastination. The frog in this scenario is obviously the thing you don’t really want to do! Not many people would enjoy eating a live frog, instead choosing to sit and look at it, all the while thinking about how horrible it’s going to be and how much they are dreading it. The same happens when we procrastinate on work tasks and projects.
Procrastination means delaying a task (or even several tasks) that should be a priority. The ability to overcome procrastination and tackle the important tasks that have the biggest positive impact on your productivity is a hallmark of the most successful people. There are many reasons why we might struggle to avoid procrastinate, including:
- The task feeling overwhelming
- Having no clear deadline
- Having inadequate resources available (time, money, information, etc.)
- Not knowing where to begin
- Having no passion/interest for doing the work
- Fearing failure or success
Acknowledging the reason might be a good starting point. It will also help you find a solution. Here are 5 ways to overcome procrastination.
- Eat That Frog!
“If the first thing you do each morning is to 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!”
“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first!. If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time!”
This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else. Resist the temptation to start with easy tasks and this will help you massively in overcoming procrastination.
- Ask for help/advice.
Asking for help from a trusted mentor, supervisor, or colleague can give you ideas and insight on where to start with a task or project. This will also set you up for success.
- Chop it up.
Break large projects that feel overwhelming into milestones, and then into actionable steps. You don’t have to do it all at once. This makes the tasks seem easier and more manageable and makes it easier to avoid procrastination.
- Obey the 15-minute rule.
Set a timer and just do the task for 15 minutes and you will start to make headway. You will probably also find that once you’ve made a start, it’s not that bad and you can just keep going.
- Change your internal dialogue with 5-4-3-2-1
You’re probably procrastinating because of the negative language you’re using around the task eg. “This is going to be so boring” “It’s too hard” “It’s going to take so long” “I don’t know where to start” etc so break your habit by counting backwards from 5 and then plunging straight into the task. You can combine this technique with the 15-minute rule and once you get started, you’ll be super productive.