Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Is there a holiday task you really do not enjoy? Cleaning the house so it is ready for guests? Putting up Christmas lights? Wrapping gifts? Perhaps sending Christmas cards? Use Brian Tracy’s wisdom to clear that task from your to-do list. Brian Tracy advises, “If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.”
Complete the hardest task on your list first. Get it out of the way, get it done, and mark it complete. Then you will no longer need to dread that arduous task and can move on to other, more enjoyable tasks. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you have completed that task.
But what about large tasks that cannot be completed in one time block? Let’s go back to the 1970’s, when elephant jokes were popular.
“Where does an elephant put his luggage? In his trunk.”
Teacher: “Where do you find an elephant?”
Pupil: “You don’t have to find them, they are too big to lose.”
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
A large holiday project or task can be approached just like eating an elephant. One bite at a time. Do you dread sitting down to write 100 holiday cards? Do ten each day for ten days. Do you despair when you think about cleaning your whole house? Clean one room per day.
If the thought of eating a frog or one bite of an elephant still fills you with despair, here is one more stress-relieving tip. Make an appointment on your calendar to complete the dreadful task. Commit to keeping that appointment, just like you would commit to having coffee with a friend. Then schedule an appointment for a task you enjoy directly after. Example: 10am Christmas Cards; 10:30am Bake cookies or 10am Clean house; 11am Go shopping.
Frogs and elephants can help you destress during the holidays. Get that frog out of the way and move on to more enjoyable activities. Tackle that elephant one bite at a time. Schedule a fun task as a reward! Feel free to share your thoughts (or elephant jokes) in the comments!