Posted in Inspirational, My Thoughts

Eat That Frog!

Once upon a time, there was a young beautiful but spoiled princess who was playing alone with her ball in the garden. She hit the ball too hard and the ball went in a pond in the middle of the garden. The ball was out of reach, she couldn’t get that ball by herself. Luckily she saw a frog sitting leisurely on a lotus leaf just beside the ball. She asked the frog to pass the ball to her – trading his help with her kiss.

The frog did help her and she got the ball back, but of course she didn’t want to kiss the frog. Who wants to kiss a frog anyway? That ugly miserable toad! Long story short, the princess was forced (by her parents) to fulfil what she’s been promising to the frog – she finally kissed the frog. Thankful the frog was not an ordinary frog, he was actually a handsome prince that was cursed to be a frog by a witch. The story ended with a happy ending. The princess found her prince and they lived happily ever after.

Now, if only there was a prince frog in my life. Well, I doubt if I’d want to kiss a frog even when I know he’s a prince inside. Kissing that slimy mouth – ugh! But unfortunately, I do have frogs in my daily life. Not the prince frog – just normal frogs that I have to EAT in order to get things done.

About 20 years long ago, my dear brother who was a keen book reader, gave me a copy of a book called: ‘Eat That Frog’ written by Brian Tracy. Being a loving brother, he was frustrated to see me, his only sister being so lazy and unproductive. So he would regularly send me emails, reminding me to work out my life better, sending me books, along with long advice.

He did it not to me, but to my beloved cousin Risna Nugroho, who was apparently as lazy as I was 😀 😀 😀 Regrettably, I didn’t listen much to his advice, and yeah, I have to say I met a lot of troubles in my life and didn’t reach the peak of productivity I wished to reach.

Back to the book Eat That Frog, the book basically suggests the reader to do first what they consider big and and important (although it might be sometimes ugly) – this would be later likened as a frog. We are encouraged to take time to assess our priorities in life: what is important and urgent, what is important and bring positivity in our lives, what is important and give big consequences when it’s not done.

Excerpted from the book: 

Mark Twain once said that 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.

Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

There are some funny ‘rules’ given in this book, such as:

The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

The second rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.

Life is always full of tasks and responsibilities. Being realistic, we will never be able to catch and do them all. There will be new tasks rolling on our ways. The only way to do it anyway is by doing first the biggest and the most important thing from our list. The book reminds us that doing the crucial things and doing the less important ones actually takes the same time and perhaps energy, but gives different effects on our productivity. 

The irony is humans tend to put off the important tasks and indulge themselves doing the ‘easier’ ones (which are perhaps less critical), only to be frustrated at the end because they have to deal with the consequences from delaying the important jobs. That’s why it’s very important to promptly eat your frog as the first thing in the morning before you get occupied with so many things with less importance.

This book is much directed to the professionals readers, but still many of the points are applicable in my life as a housewife. I have a list of ‘frogs’ that are important and critical yet look ‘ugly’ and everyday I have this struggle to avoid doing them and result in many regrets and frustrations. 

One example of the frog I don’t like to kiss, eh eat is cooking. I don’t usually cook everyday, for my own convenience I always cook in a large batch and store cooked meals in my freezers. But yet I do have to prepare things to be ready to eat every single day, especially for dinner. And every single day I would try to avoid this task, hating just even the thought of it, and get panic and flustered by the time I have to pick my kids out of school.

The same way goes for my commitment to write or to jog. I know that I have to do them as early as possible before my day ends. But I’m a member of a ‘Cinderella Team’ according to someone from my writing club, which means we only write in the last minutes of the last hours of the submission. You might not believe this, but I often jog inside my house just before 12 AM – only to get my 10.000 steps target done.

When I finally remembered about this book, I tried to stop and think which task was my highest priority and tried to do it immediately. I realized that Thursday was a short day. I had to pick my son at the swimming pool to directly go to the piano lesson, so I had to cook in the morning so that everything was ready by the time he finished his lesson. I also realized that the state of my house in general affected much my mood and my productivity, so before I even got the chance to sit after the kids went to school, I immediately made all beds and cleared up all the mess the kids left while they rushed preparing themselves in the morning. After that I went outside in the chilling afternoon and finished 4 kilometers laps.

I have to admit I did feel better afterwards. I didn’t waste as much time as my usual mornings. I got the food prepared for the dinner, I got my writing done in the morning, I reached my steps target, I had a chance to read a lot to my children without too much stressful feelings thinking about unfinished business. I still didn’t manage to do all the things I wanted to do, but I did finish most of the things that needed my immediate attention.
Getting important tasks completed gives us the sense of achievements that can boost our energy and moods to complete more tasks. If you ever feel trapped in the many responsibilities, I suggest reading this book. Perhaps one or two tricks from this book might help you to define your priority more clearly and enable you to finish more things. Kiss that frog, eh – just eat him, alive!

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