Mark Twain’s brilliant advice is the topic of this podcast episode. Find out what this means and how it will help you and your whole family (once you teach it to them) find much more joy and contentment in each and every day.
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Hi moms! How are you doing today? Are you managing to hang in there okay with all of your millions of responsibilities? Well I’m hoping that today’s episode will help you find a little bit more joy and contentment with each of your days.
Before we get started, I would like to read a review. This is from a dad, Jimmy, he says, “Heather’s content is extremely useful and entertaining and not just for moms! I’ve found several episodes that have valuable information for dads, too. For anyone looking to improve family life, be a better parent, or just needing a few minutes of solid entertainment from a rational voice, this podcase is great.” Jimmy, thank you so much for your kind words. That is so exciting to me that there are dads listening too. And also, thank you for saying that I am entertaining. I’m always hoping that I can keep this short and sweet and definitely not put you to sleep.
Let’s keep those reviews coming. We’re off to a great start and I appreciate your help, and I really, really could use those reviews and ratings on apple podcasts. But if you don’t have apple podcasts, I would love for you to leave me a review on my Facebook page or comment on some of my Instagram posts. Make sure you’re following me in those places, that way you’ll always be kept up to date with what I’m doing. And I’m working on a lot of things that I think will really help moms, so… rate, review, follow, like, check out my Facebook and Instagram, all of it.
Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing every morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
If had never heard this quote by Mark Twain before, you were probably a little confused by the title of this episode.
As disgusting as this sounds, I actually really, really like this concept. So let me explain.
Eating a live frog refers to completing a task that really, really stinks. Like, you really don’t want to do it. You don’t want to do it so bad that it’s actually kind of ruining your day. And of course, eating a live frog would be pretty miserable and definitely traumatizing, right? So, this advice by Mr. Twain is meant to teach us to eat the frog first in order to get it out of the way and then you will most likely have a more productive day. It’s hard to believe that this little trick really will help your entire day, but I promise you it will. Sometimes we fail to be productive because there is a big ugly task staring us in the face, and we don’t want to look at it. And even more important than productive, I feel, is to have a much more enjoyable day. Those really awful tasks that we don’t’ want to face can suck the joy right out of our day.
Do you ever wake up in the morning with dread and maybe even fear for a certain task that is maybe hanging over your head that needs to be completed. When you’ve got the whole day stretching out ahead of you, it’s easy to put it off until after you do all your easy things. But just like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the first thing you accomplish at work or at home sets the tone for the rest you day.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily even a difficult task, but just something you are really dreading and naturally just want to put off and not deal with. Well, what happens when you put it off? Personally, when I do this, which is all the time, it pretty much haunts me all day. It’s in the back of my mind, no matter how amazing my procrastination skills are, it’s always there, always taunting me, always reminding me that there’s this thing I really, really don’t want to do. And it even sometimes causes me to feel a bit like a failure.
This happens to everyone. Maybe not every day, but it happens pretty regularly to everyone. And your child deals with this, too. So, as we talk about this concept, you might want to make a note to have some conversations with your child about it. Teach them this concept; make this part of your daily family-isms. Ask your child what their “Live Frog” is. Ask them how and when they plan to eat it. They will love it. They will love how funny the whole concept sounds, and they will love the way they feel when you teach them how to take control of their life and their mood and their day by accomplishing that one dreaded thing first, or at least as soon as possible.
It will take them a few times, okay, a lot of times, of you really staying on them: “What’s your frog? When do you plan to get it done? Maybe your day seems dreadful because you haven’t finished your frog yet. When do you think you’ll be able to face your frog?” The more you help them create this habit for success, they really will start to understand that this truth is a game changer in their life and in their happiness level.
What would happen if we just got that darn dreaded task done first? How much better would your day feel? How much more enjoyable could it be? And how much time and energy do we spend pushing down and avoiding those voices that are making us feel guilty that we’re not making time for the live frog that really needs to get done. I know with me, it’s actually quite comical, when I step back and look at it, how much I fight those feelings all day and try my best to avoid the things I do not want to do. But the days that I do follow this advice and just get it done--and get it done first--those days are so lovely and I feel lighter and happier with myself and so much more accomplished. For me, mentally, it makes all the difference.
There’s actually a book by Brian Tracy, called “Eat That Live Frog.” He teaches that if you have two difficult tasks before you, start with the one that’s bigger, harder and more important. Often the thing we least want to do is also the most important. Getting a difficult task that is less productive out of the way just to get it out of the way is probably not the best start to your day.
I am famous for this. I would rather clear my to do list of all the mundane, almost brainless tasks, just because that is who I am. I want to see my list get shorter and shorter cause it’s kind of overwhelming. I have this push forward energy about me. I want to get the ball rolling on five different things at the same time, just to feel more productive and like I’m off to a good start. But it doesn’t help. That thing I really don’t want to do, the thing that’s so difficult, the dreaded task, my live frog, still manages to ruin my day. Even if it’s the last thing on my list and I’ve done every single other thing, even if I accomplished 20 other things, I didn’t meet that one important goal, and I feel like I just wasted my day. My day just does not go well until that Frog is eaten.
This idea of creating a habit of taking care of the most challenging task first thing in the morning will change your life.
If you’re a writer, this might mean writing a blog post or an article before checking your email or social media. If you hate the grocery store, go immediately after school drop off in the morning. If the piles of laundry are out of control, just take a minute to sort it and throw the first load in before taking the child to the park. You’ll be so much more relaxed and plugged into your child if you don’t have that dang frog hanging over your head.
Good habits are not easy to establish, especially if it’s a habit of doing the thing you want to do the least, first. You may need to create a little bit of a setup in order to encourage this action. For example, before you go to bed at the end of yet another long day, create a checklist or simply write down the first thing you need to do the next morning. If necessary and possible, gather whatever you need to accomplish it so it’s there waiting for you.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to run first thing in the morning because you won’t have time otherwise. You can make a mental note before going to bed that you’re going to work out first thing in the morning no matter what, and you can also take out your shoes and running clothes and lay them next to your bed. Then once you wake up, you’ll remember the first task on your list for the day and have everything you need right at your fingertips.
And this same approach can be applied to your work tasks. You can write down the most important task you’re going to do first the following day as soon as you get to work, and make sure you have everything laid out and ready to go so that you can.
The bottom line is this: successful people develop a lifelong habit of diving directly into major tasks on a daily basis and working steadily and tenaciously until that task is completed.
So… what’s your “frog”? What’s that big, horrible thing, you need to swallow first thing in the morning, so you feel like you’ve got the world in your hands?
I encourage you to find it and accomplish it first each day. And try to have this be part of your daily language with your child. Teach your child the words of Mark Twain and how he said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Thank you for joining me today, and I really would love to hear how this goes for you. And I’ll talk to you next time.