Eat that Frog

Procrastination is a fault of mine. I recently read an excerpt of a book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. The concept of the book is to look at your to-do list and tackle the project(s) you really aren’t looking forward to, the one(s) you’d generally put off for later in the day, which somehow turns into tomorrow, which then becomes next week. I’ve been making an effort to do this in my professional life and, with a few exceptions, have done fairly well.

I can’t say the same for my personal life.

When the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, they will sit in the dishwasher for at least three days in my household. Since our household is small, we don’t have many dishes, so if the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, it means the cupboards are empty. We work our way through the dishwasher, taking the dishes we need for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since there are still clean dishes in the dishwasher, the newly used dishes then pile up in the sink and on the counter surrounding the sink, until nearly every space is full and accessing the sink is so annoying that I’ll go to great lengths to avoid it, like choosing to wash my hands in the bathroom instead.

The mess almost becomes overwhelming. Instead of only needing to put the most recently used dish away, I now need to put several days’ worth of dishes away (AND the clean dishes). I eventually man-up (as if a man ever manned up to do dishes) and put the remaining clean dishes away, then re-fill the dishwasher with the dirty dishes. It takes a total of four or five minutes. But I do this same thing every time and feel overwhelmed by it every time, therefore putting it off for as long as possible.

Last week, I decided to try to stop doing this. My goal was to just empty the dishwasher once they were done, then start putting dishes into the dishwasher as soon as I used them. This would alleviate the overwhelming feeling, but more importantly, would alleviate the giant, cluttered mess in my kitchen. I managed to accomplish my goal once and I was not only proud, but also relieved at how quickly the work got done and how easy it was. I was so motivated that I hand-washed all my special dishes that weren’t dishwasher safe, dried them and put them away. It was such a great feeling. For whatever reason, this accomplishment didn’t last. I went back to my old habits. The next time I washed the dishes, I let them sit for days again, leading to the inevitable sink pile-up.

Another issue I have is laundry. I don’t mind doing laundry…but I hate the entire process that begins once the clothes come out of the washer. I have a lot of pieces that I don’t dry in the dryer, so I have to go through my clothes while taking them out of the washer and pull out anything that needs to be line-dried. I then carry them over to my drying rack and lay them as flat as possible. Once the clothes from the dryer are done, they, much like the clean dishes in the dishwasher, sit for days. Why don’t I just put them away as soon as they’re dry?

Again, I had one strong weekend where I folded/hung all of my clothes as soon as they came out of the dryer and finished drying on the rack. It was great. I had no overwhelming feeling of work-to-be-done hanging over my head.

So why do I do these things that cause anxiety when I know that if I took about two minutes of my time from the beginning, I would have nothing hanging over me for days, and instead, I would actually feel accomplished? Why can’t I eat that damn frog?!

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