The biggest frog (how to get things done)

Frog by Chris Luczkow
Frog by Chris Luczkow

I sat facing a blank page for about an hour this morning. Occasionally I wrote a few words and then I deleted them. They didn’t feel like the beginning of anything worthwhile.

I wrote about my oldest cat sleeping at my feet. I wrote about the squirrel stealing peanuts from the bird feeder. I wrote about the new seedlings we have just planted out. And then I deleted all of the words and there was the blank page.

I opened my favourite social media sites and closed them again. I browsed the news headlines. I looked out of the window. I looked at the blank page.

I thought a change of scene might help so I went and walked around the garden. It was cold and the sun was hiding behind grey clouds, and although I half-planned where new flower beds might be I didn’t think of anything to write about.

I came back inside and started to make a cup of tea. While I was waiting for the kettle to boil I remembered an old friend that I had been meaning to write to for a little while.

We used to be in regular contact but for reasons I don’t completely understand communication seemed to break down this year. We kept missing each other, arranging to meet and not quite managing it, and then we just stopped talking to each other…

For a while I thought I might hear something from them, and then I put it out of my mind and got on with all of the things I have to do: seeing clients, running a temple and running my mindfulness classes. Or at least I thought I had put it out of my mind, but every now and again I would find myself telling other friends about what had happened. Eventually I realised that I hadn’t really let this go at all and that’s when I decided to write to them.

That was sometime last week. I could have carved out time to write before today but the immediate demands on my time allowed me to keep distracting myself – until this morning when I was faced with a blank page.

I couldn’t get started on this article because something else, the un-written letter, was getting in the way.

Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

The un-written letter, that I was nervous about writing, was the biggest frog and I kept pushing it to the side of my plate.

I brought my cup of tea back up to my office and wrote the letter. As I wrote it the worries I had around how it might be received disappeared. This friend and I have had a strong relationship in the past and I’m sure it will be received in a good spirit. I hope so at least.

Having swallowed the biggest frog I was able to sit down and write this article.

I’ve learnt this lesson many times before, but I still sometimes find a way of pushing the biggest frog to one side.

If there is something to be done – get on and do it. Putting it off can take just as much energy and can stop you from doing anything else.

What’s your biggest frog today?

This article also appeared in All About Malvern