A few months ago, I ran across the book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time and decided maybe it was one worth reading.
I was telling Seth I had gotten a book about procrastination from the library, and Elijah chimes in, “What’s procrastination?” After we explained, he said, “I don’t need to read a book about procrastination; I’m already good at that!” I wanted to join in with him and say, “Me, too, bud. Me, too.”
Things I’ve learned (in no particular order):
- Eat that Frog! In the introduction of the book, the author relates a (supposed) Mark Twain quote saying that “if the first thing you do each morning is 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.” The point made in the book is that you should tackle your worst, lest desired “to-do” item first. All of our family has latched onto this idea, and cries of “Eat that frog!” might be heard at various times of day – whether it is about chores, a particular undesirable schoolwork task, or the fact that someone wants to do something fun instead of necessary work.
- Work off of goals (and a list). So many different people and places have addressed the idea of having written goals and a written to-do list. I think I was struck particularly by this in the book just because it talked about how much more you can accomplish with a list – a true concept, but one I’m only starting to put into practice. (I did set my first yearly goals this year so I’m taking baby steps on this one. I’m also learning much more about this concept from Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life, but I’m not done with that book yet so I’ll share about it another time.)
- Never stop learning. I know my “jobs” – being a Christian, a wife, a mother, a homeschool teacher – are a bit different than what the book is focusing on, but I really have been trying to make a more conscience effort toward reading books and learning more about how to improve in each of these areas.
- Focus your time, energy, and best efforts on the most important tasks. I felt like a number of chapters continually kept bringing this concept back to me. Whether the author’s intention or not, it was a good reminder (can we ever get reminded too often?) to make sure that my time, energy, and efforts are focused on what I want the most. For myself, this is time with the Lord and growing in Him. For my children, it’s making sure that God isn’t getting our “extra” time in our school day, but our first time, most energy, and best effort. I love when God uses a secular book to remind of a truth I already know but want to continually be evaluating our lives by. Or, as Heidi St. John often says, “Plant with the harvest in mind.”
For a book that really seemed to apply more to someone working a “regular” job, I really did get a lot out of it. If nothing else, we at least have a fun rally cry of “Eat that Frog” as a way to encourage each other to accomplish something we might rather put off for a later time.