Making Lists and “Eating that Frog”

If you’re wondering what eating frogs has anything to do with making lists, then you obviously haven’t read Eat That Frog!  The book is basically about the importance of making lists  and putting the most difficult, most important thing you have to do at the top, i.e. eating the biggest, ugliest frog first.

For the normal day-to-day stuff and probably in many lines of work, this makes a lot of sense, but I find that in application it doesn’t always work that way.  As a teacher, my biggest, ugliest frog is often grading that huge stack of essays.  However, the most immediate thing to do is plan for the next day’s class.  I need the plan before I need the graded papers in most cases, so I have to make that big frog wait.  It can’t possibly be first on my list, so for me, I’m more of an organize-by-time-and-due-date rather than by-difficulty-and-importance type of person (though perhaps we could argue that time=importance in this situation).

No matter how you do it, I do think it’s important to make lists.  At the beginning of the year, I made a list of goals.  I can go back and look at it every now and then and see that, “Oh, I’ve been focusing a lot on this one goal, but I totally forgot that I even had that other goal!”  I made a list of potential blog posts that I’ve been thinking about writing (this one was first on that list :), and then I can cross off and add to it throughout the year.  When I have a day at home alone, no husband and no kids, I generally make a gigantic list of all the things I want to get done, and even though there are things I never get to, it gives me great satisfaction when I cross off 3, 5, or even 10 items (like I did this past Friday)  that I completed.

I’ve heard it said that successful people make to-do lists first thing every day.  Admittedly, sometimes I’m lazy and don’t make lists, especially when my day is going to be pretty much the same routine as usual, but if I know the day has different required tasks, lists can be life/job-saving.  They help the memory (or lack thereof), and they help with motivation.

So I’m mostly a list person.  Are you?  Could you be?  Don’t worry–it doesn’t require actually eating any frogs!  Phew.

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