I’m going to admit something now. I have been putting off and putting off and putting off writing a new blog for so long that it’s reached the stage where I just don’t know where to start.
In fact there are three different drafts hovering in cyberspace that I began over the last three months, but embarrassingly I’ve not finished any of them and now the topics I’d chosen to talk about are old news.
It’s time I took some of my own medicine.
I was coaching a senior executive last week who had been procrastinating for some time rather than getting on and doing something he needed to do. We worked through a simple exercise together involving three chairs. He sat in the first and looked at the other two. On one chair he visualised himself sitting in six month’s time having still not acted. On the other chair he visualised himself in six months time having completed the task he’d been putting off.
I asked him physically to sit in each of those two chairs and describe for me (and himself) what it felt like and what the world, his world, looked like from that position. He then returned to his first chair, looked back at the two (now empty) chairs in front of him and decided which one he wanted to sit in for real. The rest of our session was spent exploring and deciding on the right action plan to enable him to achieve it.
This simple coaching tool can be incredibly effective at focusing the mind when you are repeatedly putting off taking action. However, there’s also another simple tip that I’ve found very useful on a daily basis, which has prompted me to take action and write this blog today. (A huge thank you to the person, whose name I cannot remember, who told me about this clever tip many years ago!)
I have a picture of a fat, slimey frog pinned to the noticeboard above my desk.
Every morning this frog looks at me as I sit down to work and open my computer. When I look back at it, I imagine that it sums up the one task that I REALLY (and I mean really) don’t want to do that day; the task I’ve been putting off for weeks.
Everyone has their own frog that they don’t want to handle. The frog that gets cast aside and put to the bottom of the list in the hope that it might just go away. BUT, if you want to achieve your goals and be rid of that frog, you need to eat it! That means not pushing it to the side of the plate until you’ve finished all the nice bits that you really enjoy, but eating it FIRST. Getting it out of the way so that you can enjoy that sense of relief and achievement before getting onto the tasks that you would rather do.
So today my blog was my frog! It’s been my frog for weeks now but I’ve chosen to ignore it repeatedly. But do you know what? I now feel that a weight has been taken off my shoulders. Eating my frog really wasn’t so bad!