Author Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog! Compares the idea of eating a big ole frog with conquering your most dreaded task. The book is about procrastination and learning to prioritize in order to become successful in all you do. He hones in on the concepts of decision, discipline and determination when it comes to taking charge of time management. The idea of eating a frog, or getting that awful thing done, can actually be applied quite well to freeing yourself from anxiety. Keep reading to learn how.
Think about it.
Write down the biggest sources of your anxiety. Sometimes it may seem like anxious feelings aren’t related to any one particular thing, but other times there is a definite trigger.
For many of us, that trigger is procrastination or avoidance. We put off doing the horrible thing due to the uncomfortable feelings it brings up in us. Then we feel even more horrible as that thing continues to linger over our heads, still needed to be done.
The theory Tracy and other philosophers use with the frog metaphor is that it’s best to determine what that big, bad awful thing is and then just do it so that it’s out of the way for good. It’s actually not a bad plan. Following this logic requires a bit of foresight, which can be difficult for those suffering from anxiety.
Let’s break down some steps to make it simpler.
First, each night you’ll want to identify the next day’s frog. Make your to-do list, and then pick out the one thing that seems that worst but that holds a great deal of importance. Choose an alternate or two, as well, so you can get a jump start on accomplishing important tasks. Please note, this is extra, in addition to the big frog. Your alternates are not an excuse to substitute the worst for something not-so-bad.
Ideally, you should tackle that frog first thing in the morning in order to put it behind you for the rest of the day. However, you also need to consider your best time of day. Eat that frog when you have the most energy and are in the best frame of mind. It doesn’t make sense to set yourself up for difficulty by choosing to accomplish a difficult task during your least productive time of day.
Commit to taking this approach every day for a week. Pay close attention to your feelings up approaching the frog and then to how you feel once that bugger is behind you. It might even be a good idea to keep a journal of the experience. You’ll likely gain more and more confidence as you continue to do the things that once seemed impossible.
Read over your notes again and again when you’re feeling overwhelmed by something. Reflecting on past accomplishments is a great motivator when you need to get things done.
Reminding yourself of the hard stuff you’ve managed in the past can give you the confidence to do it again. More importantly, the sense of relief and pride that come with accomplishment are a powerful force to banishing painful anxiety. You won’t believe how much better it feels to eat that frog.
Try the Pomodoro technique in this video.