Life is crazy, and when it comes to prioritising your tasks for the week, there are plenty of metaphors thrown around Pinterest, Instagram and desktop backgrounds that attempt to keep you motivated. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Find yourself. All of these are intended to inspire and help get your days in order. But how do you truly make the most of your time? When people tell you to seize the day, it can often be hard to separate the meaning from the metaphor. Which advice do you follow, and do you even follow any at all?
Now that 2019 has well and truly kicked off, we thought it was time to go hunting for inspiration that really does inspire; something that all of us can keep in mind the next time that the workload piles up or you feel overwhelmed.
The results were plentiful. After lots of digging, we found two phrases that really stood out for us when it comes to simplifying your day-to-day life. The first? Eat the frog. The second? Big Rocks First. Both similar in their meaning but equally important. We hope that they can be used to inspire you all and keep you on track for success. Have a wonderful start to the year!
Eat the Frog
Don’t worry, we don’t want you to head outside and go frog-hunting for this one. ‘Eat the frog’ is a term that originated from writer Mark Twain back in the 1800s. Dubbed the father of American literature, Twain once famously said:
“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.”
The frog, in this instance, is the one task that you don’t want to do, but you know you need to do it. Nobody wants to eat the frog; of all the things on your task-list it’s likely the one big thing that hovers over your horizon as you get on with your day. But by tackling this task first, by forcing yourself to ‘eat the frog’, every other thing on your to-do list will quickly seem easy in comparison. Starting your day with the trickiest task has been shown to increase productivity levels and boost your mood. And it makes sense. If you reach lunchtime and you’ve already boxed off the hardest challenge of the day, you can move onto easier and more fun things and go home satisfied that you got your priorities in order.
So how do you spot the frog? If you’re in a hectic job that requires lots of difficult tasks doing, then picking out ‘the frog’ from amongst them might seem impossible. The best way to do so? Use the Eisenhower Box technique. Former US President Eisenhower divided up his list into 4 categories, and had a simple solution for each of them in order of importance:
- Important and urgent - Do it
- Important but not urgent - Decide a time to do it
- Urgent but not important - Delegate it
- Not urgent and not important - Delete it
Simple, effective and a great way to see what you should tackle first. Now take your first category. For all the ‘important and urgent’ tasks you’ll be able to split them into those that you want to do, and those that you don’t.
Your ‘frog’ will be an important, urgent task that you don’t want to do.
The next priority on your list will be the important, urgent tasks that you do want to do. All subsequent tasks can either be scheduled, delegated or deleted. Taking just a few moments to sort all these will ensure that you’re on track to tackle the day!
Big Rocks First
For those of you who don’t enjoy the idea of eating a frog every day (and we can’t really blame you!), there’s a similar, less frog-shaped metaphor which can also help you visualise and plan for your week. This one is called Big Rocks First.
How does it work? Imagine your week in 7 different buckets - a different bucket for each day. You have 7 days to fill, or 576 hours to be exact. But your time is precious, and your buckets can quickly get filled with pebbles, sand, or any other debris that comes your way. In order to avoid your buckets getting filled too quickly with less important tasks, get your ‘Big Rocks’ in there first - the important things that take up space. These rocks should be the things that you’re going to be proud of achieving - not just your work tasks, but those that will push you towards your life ambitions and goals.
Aim to tick up to four ‘Big Rocks’ off each week. The best way to tackle these is grab your favourite notepad and a trusty pen, and pop your Big Rocks onto a to-do list. The important thing to remember here is that you have to give yourself time to do them. Don’t try to squeeze them into a one-hour slot that you’ve found between all of your less crucial tasks. Ideally tackle these earlier in the day (but after your ‘frogs’), so that any smaller rocks or unplanned tasks won’t overshadow your big achievements. What does this do? It allows you to look back on your week with pride, knowing that your got the most out of your time. Happy planning!
Do you have any go-to tricks or tips that help you stay on track to achieve your goals? Send them in. We’d love to learn what it is that keeps all you BYEM fans inspired.