Eat That Procrastination Frog for Better Business

by Annet King (as seen in Skin Inc.)

Every morning, you turn from your pillow and there it is—a frog on the bed beside you. Scary. Slimy. Spotty. Slippery. Your mission: eat that frog. You hesitate, deciding to make coffee first to build up your nerve. You open the fridge and there it is again, eyes bulging, croaking a watery greeting. You know that you have to eat the frog to make the rest of the day go right. Timing is everything you tell yourself, so you drive to your salon or spa and there on your treatment bed or chair, an amphibian awaits. The frog still needs to be eaten.

This persistent creature is not the rare delicacy desired by foodies; rather, it is a metaphor for common procrastination that can profoundly affect your business. There's an old saying that if you had to eat a live frog in the morning, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day. In practical terms, this means that if you tackle the biggest and ugliest task on your to-do list first thing every morning, everything else will seem easier by comparison. By completing the hardest task first, you’ll be more fulfilled and driven to complete other tasks, in turn boosting your confidence, self-esteem, and productivity.

Identifying Your Frog

Stop for a moment and think of a particular task you’ve been avoiding. That is your frog. Most professional skin care therapists and owners of skin care centers stumble and stall in four areas:

  • 1. Business analyses like quantifying growth, target setting, client retention, retail vs. sales revenue
  • 2. Operation matters like inventory control, website updates, POS software upgrades or writing that policy and procedures manual
  • 3. Marketing the business from cleaning up the database, social media campaigns, networking or planning your marketing calendar
  • 4. HR issues like having difficult conversations with troublesome staff members, recruitment or dismissing the ones that need to go

These are just a few of the critical areas where every business needs to eat the frog. But many of us avoid these frog-tasks completely, start and stop, or do them poorly—and our business suffers. It also hurts our own professional self-esteem to know that we have not eaten the frog, faced our fears, swallowed the worst, and emerged victorious (i.e. maximum productivity, performance, output and value).

In his best-selling book “Eat That Frog,” efficiency and effectiveness expert Brian Tracy states, “The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task of that moment, to do it well, and to finish it completely is the single most important realization.” Tracy admits and we all know, too, that the key phrase is “most important task of that moment.” We all have many frogs. Discerning which is the most important requires skill.

Prioritizing the Frogs

Rank your frogs or priorities from 1-5. Concentrate on the most important one first.

Start with the small bites. Procrastination occurs when the task is too big. Break the project down to smaller chunks that suit your attention span.

Don’t get distracted. Lock yourself away from your team if necessary. Find a place where you are less likely to feel frustrated by interruptions. Dedicate Mondays or a couple of mornings a week away from the spa or salon to work on your frogs and goals.

Reward yourself after each frog is eaten. A call to a friend, listening to a favorite song, an armful of fresh flowers from the farmers market, whatever lights up the reward-center in your brain.

Find other frog eaters. Has it ever occurred to you when you are surrounded by people who work hard, you will be energized and will work hard as well? People motivate each other.

Map the task into long-term goals. How can your task at hand contribute to your long term goals?

Find your motivational switch. Everyone has a way to switch on their own motivation mode. Whatever it is, find out what’s your switch and exploit it.

Most importantly, take action every day when it comes to identifying, facing down and ultimately eating your frog. Brian Tracy says, “The key to success is action.” I agree and will simply echo a traditional Chinese proverb, “Talk does not cook rice.”

Bon appétit!

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Eat That Procrastination Frog for Better Business