Organization Reflections

Eating Live Frogs

orange eyed green tree frog
Credit: flickr / rainforest_harley

Reflecting on Sunday’s post on Effectiveness and Time Management, and my reluctance to eat live frogs in the morning, it’s occurred to me that:

  1. I don’t tend to have a “most important task”, because most of my tasks are fairly open ended. Each day I have something that I want to make some progress on, and normally I do. This is working OK.
  2. I don’t tend to start the something in the morning, either because it requires me being in my office, or I have other things that I want to clear out the way so I can focus on it.
  3. In general, the afternoon is my peak work time for these kind of tasks – provided the morning goes well.
  4. Whilst my most important task may be a live frog, there are other live frogs that are not necessarily the most important task.
  5. Getting better at eating live frogs first thing, may improve my self-discipline and this will flow to other areas of my life.

To this end, I’ve made a list of my live frogs. And I plan to eat one first thing in the morning every day this week. Here they are:

  1. Exercise. I like exercise, I do, but not first thing in the morning because I worry it means I don’t start work until too late and it makes me hungry all day. Also, I think my metabolically-optimum time for working out is mid afternoon (ideally around 4ish). But I can’t always work to that so I should just get up and go swimming instead. Normally, though, I don’t – I did this morning though, and I feel better for it.
  2. Going outside. The thing that stops me starting on my “most important task” earlier is often that I have to psych myself up to go outside because it’s sooooo cold. That’s the difference between fall and winter for me, in the fall I can make it into my office by 10am easily. In the winter, I’m doing well to make it in by lunchtime.
  3. Grocery shopping. I hate the grocery store, and this also involves going outside, so double whammy. Thing is, the quickest time to make the trip is in the morning because the store is less busy.
  4. Dealing with people. There’s a reason why, where possible, I schedule all my meetings for afternoons. I don’t really like talking to people in the morning, so I avoid them.
  5. Laundry and other household chores. We have a washing machine in our apartment (rare in Canada) so I don’t get to moan about this too much, but I hate hanging it up and putting it away when it’s dry.

Looking at this list, it strikes me that none of these are “work” tasks. But they are things than can potentially take me away from my afternoon productive time, if I let them. Or cause problems if they don’t get dealt with. It annoys my boyfriend that I can’t have a conversation in the morning, for example, and it’s a pain to have no clean clothes or have to stop work early to clean the apartment because people are coming over.

Your list will be different, of course. Join me in the Live Frog Challenge? I’ll check back in with you on Friday to let you know how I’m doing.

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