Mark Twain is credited with saying this about procrastination: “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.”*
Twain’s philosophy made so much sense to Brian Tracy, a training and development entrepreneur, that he wrote a bestselling book about procrastination called Eat That Frog.
Now that you’ve learned about that frog, here are five additional tips to stop avoiding getting started doing what you know you should be doing.
1. Turn big tasks into bite-size bits
When you have a seemingly insurmountable task in front of you, it’s natural to want to put it off. One solution: “chunking.” If you divide that mammoth task into several snack-sized tidbits, you’ll find it much less daunting to get started, and chances are you will have it done in no time.
Do you have a big job you in front of you that you can “chunk?”
2. Set a timer
Racing to complete your task before it runs out can be a great motivator. Chances are pretty good that you’ll be so egrossed in your project when time runs out that you’ll want to ignore the alarm and finish things up (that’s a good thing!).
What’s something you can start right now and do for, say, ten minutes?
3. Don’t fixate on what you can’t accomplish
You’re probably not going to write the next Great American Novel. Or become the next Mark Zuckerberg. But that’s OK. Nobody says you have to measure up to anyone else. And what you need to do today is much easier than becoming a famous author or entrepreneur, right? So, do it!
Do you spend time thinking it’s impossible that you’ll ever measure up to famous over-achievers? That’s just wasting time you could use to accomplish something!
4. Plan to thank yourself when it’s over
There’s no law against rewarding ourselves for jobs we do well. So, why not think of something great to treat yourself with after you finish what you’ve been putting off? It could help get you started, and keep you going.
What’s your favorite treat? Got one handy? Don’t go for it until you’ve checked that next item off your to-do list!
5. If all else fails, try ‘productive procrastination’
You’ve got more than one item on your to-do list, right? So, if you’ve been procrastinating about item #1, instead of heading to Facebook, a news site or the water cooler when you can’t get started on it, how about seeing if you can manage some work on item #2 or #3, etc.? This way you’ll be procrastinating and getting something done at the same time!
What could you take care of right now while also avoiding that thing that you really don’t feel like doing?
*Mark Twain also said (we think in jest): “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” We don’t recommend that advice, though.