Why are Frogs, Badgers & Mammoths Important to Productivity?

Frogs, Badgers, Woolly Mammoths, and Why You Need Them!

I watched a video on YouTube recently. It was a woman who made a living building tools that don’t work. They were comedy tools, like an alarm clock that hit her with a rubber hammer. Another was the carrot chopper. Three knives hacked at some carrots, making an appalling job of it. I can’t believe she makes money with her channel, but each to their own!

The carrot chopper would work if you left it long enough. How often have you thought, in the office, ‘when they all go home, I’ll get this done’?

Time management’ is hard. We weren’t taught it at school. We learnt what we know about being productive mostly by watching our colleagues do it badly. Quick tips are not the answer. However, by incorporating three mindsets into your daily routine, you can make some decent headway: think frogs, badgers and woolly mammoths.

Let’s talk frogs. Time management guru Brian Tracy wrote a great book called ‘Eat that Frog’, based on Mark Twain’s quote, ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’. In short, identify the biggest and most horrible task you need to do that day and do it first. The euphoria of having eaten your frog… immense!

Eat that Frog! Stop Putting Things Off
Brian Tracy’s book is based on doing your worst task first thing

Moving on. You are driving. Imagine a badger jumps out in front of you every four minutes. This is what happens to you every day at your desk. On average you receive 121 emails per day, which is one every four minutes. You can’t help but click on the email notification to see who it is from and what it is about. The impact on your productivity? Well, first you notice the email notification, then you stop what you are doing, then you click and read the email, decide whether you need to reply, maybe write and send the reply. Then when you go back to what you were doing, you have to remember where you were, start again and get back up to speed. The clock is ticking until that next email arrives.

Badger hiding in a hole tree clearing
Email notifications can be likened to badgers running into the road when you’re driving

Woolly mammoths are the easiest of our three. Don’t write big horrible tasks on your to do list, like Bridget Jones did – ‘sort life’. Instead, write the first practical and simple action to get the task moving because then the ‘snowball will roll down the hill’. Instead of ‘Move house’, write ‘Call estate agent’. The brain sees big tasks and finds anything else to do. Small tasks it likes.

Cartoon picture of Woolly Mammoth
Make sure to break your to-do list down into smaller tasks

Good luck with your menagerie of animals!

Written by Darren A. Smith for The Grocer.

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