It was Mark Twain who was first quoted as saying “eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day”. Fast forward to today – we don’t have easy access to live frogs, but we do have the need to avoid equally unpleasant things. You’ve found your frog when you can identify the worst part of running a business, something that keeps coming onto your Important list regularly (referring back to the video “Time Target”) and it’s something that you’ve done absolutely nothing about. What’s interesting about that is that every business has similar frogs. There’s no escaping calling up a key client or customer that is unhappy, contacting your Accountant to chase up old debts and payments, preparing for a bank meeting to apply for more funds, or you could even be in an industry which now faces fierce competition which could reduce your profitability (enter Uber and Airbnb).
The author of book “Eat that Frog!” Brian Tracy spent of 30,000 hours studying why some people are more successful than others. He read extensively and followed the lives of those people who managed to do very well in both their personal and professional lives. He wanted to know why they received more money &/or were promoted earlier and also had good relationships. It boiled down to one thing – good self management.
Wrangling your frog
When there is a large (ugly) task ahead of us, what is the first thing that we do? Some people take a walk. Others welcome distractions. Need the water cooler changed? No problem. The office plant hire renewal form? I can sign it. Kitchen fridge is overflowing. I’ll clear it. We’ve also heard that the best way to thoroughly dust and vacuum your house is to enrol in an online course. People will do anything to avoid sitting down and getting on with it. An important point to note when tackling frogs are, as difficult as they are, they will be what will provide the largest results for the business.
Completing a Business Plan for the banks to use in negotiations equals expansion and more investment capital – big result. Securing a key client and ensuring repeat purchases – that’s also a big result. Repositioning the business in the market (adapting to change) to create international markets sales – massive result. Frogs are hard, but they are worth every effort.
Line up your frogs
Each day, identify the frogs that are constantly playing on your mind. These are the most important frogs because if they are left unaddressed, they will distract you and make it difficult for you to focus on the day. By removing these frogs, you will feel more empowered and able to take on other business demands. Managing your frogs this way is slightly different to the traditional “To Do” list. Instead of prioritising activities that may be profitable or important to other people (as we talked about in previous papers), these frogs, when removed will give the Business Leader a better sense of purpose.
Proactivity waits for no one.
Procrastination just waits…and waits…and waits.
Now we finally arrived to the most enduring “pain point” for all business owners with regard to frogs. It’s not listing them out. It’s not prioritising them. And it’s not even looking closely at them on a plate. It’s the business of eating our frogs. We know they are there. They are staring right back at us wondering what we are going to do next. And that’s the point. What are we going to do? If we had the job of eating a live frog every day when would we physically pick it up and eat it? The team at One Week At A Time believe there is only one time in each and every day that we should eat a frog. It’s first thing in the morning.
We know that for many successful businesses there are people who know what they are doing, where they are headed and why they are doing it. What we don’t know (or we assume or forget) is that those successful businesses are made up of people who don’t hesitate to do the very things that are difficult, important and produce profits.
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