One of my favorite Peter Gabriel songs is “Kiss that Frog” and today I want to urge you all to start each day by kissing that frog … although I pretty sure my advice is a little different than Peters.
The dreaded Task List
You know all the things on your to-do list that never seem to get done? The stuff you push off every day because something more important gets in the way, or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself and your co-workers, clients or employers.
These are the frogs I want you to kiss.
In our company, we have an accountability sheet We call it the “WWW” sheet. WWW stands for who, what and when and it is the way we monitor tasks that need to be done to move our company forward. Most of the tasks relate to the 6 core functions in our business. By assigning a “who” and a “when” to each “what” we make someone accountable to the task and we have assigned a deadline to it.
The problem is some of those who, what , whens never seem to get done.
They get discussed each week during our huddle and the due date gets pushed out further and further but they don’t get done.
Since this is happening in the senior leadership team, the creme de la creme in our company, I’m sure it’s happening in team meetings throughout the company and that sucks. Wasted time and agreed upon priorities not getting done.
These hard to accomplish tasks, whether they are personal like getting a haircut, or an oil change for your car, or business things like giving a performance review, or calling a client to tell them you are sorry for a mistake you made. These are the things I call frogs. I call them frogs because they are things we don’t even want to touch. We move away from them and try to avoid them at all costs.
Kiss that Frog
Imagine for a minute that you really had to kiss a frog, imagine it was on your WWW list. You had to give it a big wet 3-second kiss.
You’d probably put it off as long as humanly possible, schedule it out for a year in the future. If you had a year to do it you would probably do it on day 365, the very last day of the year. It’s human nature we put off what we don’t want to do till the last possible moment.
Think about it, when you finally forced yourself to kiss that frog, you’d pucker up and give it a big long wet kiss right on the slimy skin of his back.
What would happen?
You’d probably freak out a bit, spit and complain LOUDLY, but it would be over in a minute, well really 3 seconds TOPS! 3 seconds that you spent 364 days agonizing over, A year of stress for something that took less than a minute.
When it comes to things we don’t want to do, agonizing over it is almost always worse than actually doing it. Once you kiss that frog, you’re a little freer, you have less weight on your shoulders and you are free to move on to the next thing without the burden of kissing that frog hanging over you.
Better get a new notebook!
I can help you fix this problem but you better get a new notebook because I bet if you’re like me you have hundreds of frogs to kiss.
You see the way these things work is that we constantly procrastinate on all of lives burdens and they build up in our minds. We carry them around like heavy luggage every day.
I know you don’t think you have 100 open items on your internal to-do list but I bet you do! I might even venture to bet you have twice that and that’s a lot of weight to carry around. These little things add up and bring you down.
Let me share with you some common ones I see:
The Top Ten List
- Working on Personal Relationships
- Actually doing “Date Night”
- Saying NO when you know you should
- Firing Someone
- Tolerating a consistently late employee
- Making a doctors appointment for yourself
- Ending a joint venture or partnership that’s been over for quite a while.
- Doing Employees Performance Reviews or one-on-one coaching
- Dealing with Unresolved Conflicts of all types, at home and work.
- Making a Will or updating your life insurance.
I’m guessing that at least some of these frogs will resonate with you. If you think about it, I’m guessing that you have been planning to make a plan to get it done for quite a long time.
The Five Things you need to do to get Kissing
Find your Frogs
Many people smarter than I have told you that if you want something to happen you need to write it down.
The same is true if you want to kiss those frogs. You need to figure out what you have been avoiding and write it down. Writing it down frees them from your head. If you know you have to do it and it makes you even a little uncomfortable, write it down, get it on paper and free your mind.
Kiss those Frogs Daily
Kiss those Frogs every day.
Now you need to start kissing those frogs and you need to make it a habit. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so set your mind right that you are going to do this for 21 days straight.
But to start let’s focus on the first 5 days and only kissing one frog a day. Pick 5, large or small, big or little, it doesn’t matter but pick 5 things you have been avoiding and start today.
This is about building momentum, about getting rid of some of your backlog and feeling good about crossing out some open items that you’ve been ignoring.
The 5 D’s
Have you ever heard of the 5 D’s, I googled it and found out that it was defined as “A term used to describe a wholehearted effort to avoid someone/something.”
It comes from dodgeball.
Don’t ask me why dodge is listed twice, I don’t know and I really don’t care. The 5 D’s of frog kissing is a little different. If you want to get something done that you have been “wholeheartedly been trying to avoid” then you need to do one of these 5 D’s.
- Do It – Just like Nike you first choice to deal with a frog is to Just Do It! Kiss it and get it over with
- Don’t Do It – Just like Nancy Regan said, “Just Say No”. Tell the person or persons no, you will not be doing whatever they have asked of you.
Delegate It – Push it off to someone else. I am getting better and better at this every year. It took me a long time to get good at this but delegating is now a big part of how I get things done
- Delete It – This is similar to “Don’t Do It” but it is just a choice you need to make. Just decide that you aren’t doing it and strike it from your list and make room in your brain for more important stuff. The key is to really delete it and move on.
- Date It – This is the last of the 5 D’s. Choose to push it off and date it for sometime in the future. Be careful with this one, this can become a really big crutch. Use the date it method only if the timing is truly not right and something needs to be moved to the future.
Worse Things First
Do yourself a favor and kiss the nastiest frog first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s not possible to do it before your morning coffee but do it as soon as you possibly can. Why?
Because it will liberate you, it will be off your back and you can spend your day growing your business not worrying about something you are going to have to deal with anyway. Just do it or pick one of the other 5 D’s but do something and do it first thing in the morning.
Get your Team Onboard
Lastly, think about sharing this concept with your team. Make Friday Frog day in your company. Fridays become the day procrastination is no longer an excuse. Sort your tickets by age and knock out the oldest ones first. Look at your rocks or your WWW and knock off the oldest ones.
Make those hard calls to your customers have those one-on-ones with your employees. Move your company along and kiss some frogs!
If you want to read the book Your Oxygen Mask First that I drew this concept from please consider buying it on Amazon with the link above.