Eat That Frog: Work/Life Balance Video

Welcome to my first weekly Work/Life Balance Video. Today’s question is: How do I fit in tasks that I really don’t like doing?

I’ll answer below and in this video:

Eat That Frog! Finishing the oogy tasks from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo.

Give us your answer in the comments and tell us what work/life balance questions you struggle with and I’ll answer them in future videos. Here goes…

As I’m likely to do, I’ll answer that question with a question (or several):
  • Why are you trying to fit it in?
  • Is it because you are a solopreneur and you think you have to do everything?
  • Is it because your business is growing and you are struggling with the intensification of your work and the learning curve that comes with going big?
Either way, I think these quick tips will help:
1. Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy wrote a book (and my fabulous friend, Jodi Womack, told me about it) of the same name. The idea is to look at all of the stuff you don’t feel like or don’t enjoy doing as a frog sitting in the middle of your workspace. Imagine that frog is going to STAY there until you eat it (meaning until you eat the frog). Now, imagine that frog has sat there for a couple of days. What effect is that having on your other work, the work you love doing?
1. Tracy’s advice is, “EAT THAT FROG!” Get up first thing in the morning and make a frog task list. Include the most loathsome things you know need doing and do them before everything else.
2. Find a partner and trade cootie tasks. You may not believe it, but someone out there LOVES doing the tasks you hate to do! Check out the Creative Freelancers LinkedIn discussion groups, check on Craigslist, heck, put up an update on Facebook and say what you want help with and what you have to offer in exchange.
3. Set a consequence for yourself. Announce to a friend that if you do not finish the task you really don’t feel like finishing (AND it aligns with your business goals), that you will send them a check for an organization, person or political campaign that you vehemently disagree with.  Make sure it’s a sum of money you are really not happy to part with. It works EVERY time for me.
4. Delegate. I know, I know, everyone is talking about VAs (virtual assistants), assistants, and subcontractors. Some of us groan at the idea of either doing the extra work it takes to delegate a task or we can’t imagine investing the budget to pay for help. Think about it this way, how much are you “paying” in lost time, missed deadlines and general griping by not getting those tasks done? Is it worth it?
How do YOU get tasks done that you don’t like doing? (And if you’d like to learn more about growing your business and finishing what you start, come visit me on!)

Listen to BTW: [audio:]

You can hear more from Dyana on collaboration in her session from the 2008 Creative Freelancer Conference.  Check it out here.

5 thoughts on “Eat That Frog: Work/Life Balance Video

  1. Luke Mysse

    I tweeted recently about something sort of related. I’ve found that once I do finally ‘eat the frog’ it really doesn’t taste all that bad.

    I had a task that I put off for weeks, it was sitting in front me, looking at me, making me feel creeped out and sick to my stomach. Finally just out of sheer anger I ate that dam frog and you know what? It took all of 5 minutes to finish a task that I had been dreading for weeks. 5 minutes!! I wonder how much time I lost in productivity by looking at his beady little eyes…silly silly frog.

  2. Ilise Benun

    Same thing happens to me and part of the problem is making that frog much bigger in my mind than it actually turns out to be in reality. It’s not about the time it takes but the effort to actually focus my attention on something, that’s the challenge.

  3. Dyana Valentine

    love the stories, Luke and Ilise–it’s SO true that we spend way more time and energy (and money) staring at frogs (or hallucinating their power) than we do chomping down. I recently delegated something–that I thought would be VERY expensive to handle–and it ended up being the easiest 5 minutes of explanation and 30 minutes of time I ever purchased. Okay, okay, it was 6 months and five minutes, but hey, now that I know, I’ll be much more efficient. Ellen, good for you for getting to the toes–right on getting those chunks down.

  4. Pingback: Are you getting it done or just busy looking busy? — Dyana Valentine