In this 2nd installment of Principles to Live By and Enjoy Life More Fully, I offer a simple concept that will serve you well and make your work and home life easier.
Yes, you should eat the frog.
Maybe you’ve heard the quote widely attributed to Mark Twain, “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” A second variation goes like this, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Despite the fact Twain did not actually author that quote – it was a witty Frenchman, Nicolas Chamfort, in 1795 – it nonetheless expresses a principle that I live and work by.
Of course the point is not about eating frogs – but tackling the tasks I like the least first. Then, with the worst done first, you can look forward to more enjoyable tasks or projects the rest of the day.
In the home. What do I do first when I am spending the day cleaning? Dusting — dusting drives me nuts! But then I’ll go off to something I enjoy, such as spending a few minutes maintaining my desk by putting paperwork away and returning hanging files to their proper place. Then it’s back to something else I don’t like — cleaning the bathrooms. But when I’m done, I head to my kitchen, one of my favorite rooms to work in.
In the office. Whenever you have several projects or assignments to do for your boss, always try to pick the one that is the worst one to do, and do it first. When I worked at the Navy Federal Credit Union back in the 80’s before I started my business in 1982, I had a great job as a trouble shooter for loans. Whenever a loan would get stuck in the system and was not being processed correctly or on time, I would track it down and see to it that it was expedited.
That part of the job was fun, but the day-to-day computer work with accounting was drudgery. So whenever I had to do both processes – the expediting and the accounting, I always did the dreaded accounting first. Then I could look forward to the rest of the day expediting the lost loans.
So, just pinch your nose and eat the biggest frog first. It’s a key piece of the organizational puzzle that will make your life at home or at work all the more enjoyable.