Personal Growth · Quick Tips

Swallowing Frogs- The To-Do List and How to Tackle It

Mark Twain once said, “If you swallow a giant frog, first thing in the morning, the day gets easier from there.”
OK, that’s not the exact quote but you get the idea. Basically, Twain was saying to do one really big, awful thing first thing in the morning and then everything else will seem easy peasy. I can get behind that — but what if you have a bunch of things to do, or a bunch of “frogs to swallow?” I say, eat the biggest one first.

Being super organized and scratching things off a real pen to paper list is just so satisfying. I love making a list, but I am also, though, a bit of a procrastinator, especially when my tasks are boring, inconvenient or downright uncomfortable.

Identify the frog. Swallow it.

Follow me here. I get dip-powder manicures. If you’re not familiar with this, look it up! Best manicure out there right now. It stays on a long time, doesn’t chip, keeps your nails strong; all good stuff.
The downside? It stays on a long time, doesn’t chip, and keeps your nails strong so they grow really long and you have to sit and take time to actually soak the polish off, leaving you with 15-20 minutes of not being able to do anything else with your hands. To quote one of my favorite viral videos, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” So, I tend to leave the polish on a little too long. My nails grow like eagle talons, making day to day activity (like typing) uncomfortable, and it just looks terrible to have half-grown-out nail polish. Ah, First World problems. It’s a little thing that I make out to be a big, huge ordeal because I just don’t want to sit still, unable to use my hands for the 15 minutes it takes to remove the polish.

“Frog” tasks can be anything — something as silly as removing your nail polish or as serious as filing your taxes. Think for a second. What’s the thing you’re putting off right now? I know you have something. Maybe it’s picking up a last-minute school supply, sending a quick but overdue work email to a colleague, calling a friend. We all have frogs.

It’s been a very relaxed, fun summer with our kids. We’ve been on an epic road trip, but also mostly just hung out and gotten off our normal routines. When I stop making lists and swallowing frogs in the mornings, my procrastination kicks into overdrive.
Well, a few weeks ago I decided it was time to start in on the frogs again, beginning with the removal of said polish. My feet hit the floor, I went directly to the kitchen and grabbed a bowl and the remover and took that polish off. That was the most productive day I had in weeks.
After I got that ‘frog’ down, I accomplished so many things that day I truly felt I was back in the zone, and I have been a focused task master ever since. Well, maybe not 100% but I’ve been doing a lot better.

We all have frogs.

The point I’m trying to make is this: We often spend more time thinking about uncomfortable, boring or challenging things we must do than the time it would actually take to do them. Just do the thing. Get it over with.
My “best-life” practice is bedtime list making. When I’m in the “focused and growing” zone, every night before I go to bed, I make a list of everything I need to do the next day. And I do mean everything. Make the kids school lunches, sign a permission slip, have a webinar with all the leaders in my skincare company, go to the dentist, remove my nail polish. All the things go on the list.
Then, in the morning I start swallowing frogs. I suppose you could also do this electronically with an app on your phone. I just think it’s so satisfying to draw that line through each accomplishment.

The most rewarding thing about this practice is the extra time I often find at the end of the day to relax a bit, binge some Netflix, read a book, take a long bath or play around with my She, Confident website. It’s also a really great feeling to be able to reflect at the end of a long day on all of the things you accomplished while swallowing frogs.

She, confident in her list making abilities, rounded up a notepad and pen and placed it on her bedside table.

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