Micah's Musings

Why you should only eat part of a frog for breakfast

January 27, 2015

Do you want to get more done every day? Specifically, do you want to get the all-crucial part of your “to-do” list done (for example: getting that new album project off the ground) that will make the most difference in your musical progress, your career, your life – but that you’ve been avoiding getting started?

Conventional wisdom is that you should get this dreaded item over with in the morning, before you do any of the more trivial items on your list. This is called the “eat a live frog before breakfast” (or sometimes, “for breakfast”) approach, and it’s invariably and, incorrectly, attributed to Mark Twain, who, while a highly productive individual, had absolutely nothing to do with this bit of advice.

The problem with the “eat a frog” approach isn’t that it uses Mark Twain’s name in vain (though I have to admit that bugs me too). It’s that it simply doesn’t work, at least not without modification. That’s because guilting yourself into thinking you need to get a massive, important, emotionally-charged project first thing the morning is one of the surest recipes for increasing your procrastination, rather than reducing it.

Here’s the simple modification that solve everything: Eat just part of that frog for breakfast.

This works like gangbusters because the act of starting a huge, or emotionally charged, or important, or long-postponed project is, in many, many cases, the hardest part: Getting it off your “to-do” list and onto your “in process” list is the trick, because from that point forward, you’ll just be doing something much less emotionally charged: you’ll be finishing, or fleshing out, or editing that project, rather than having that pit-in-your stomach feeling that comes from knowing you’ll have to start the project from scratch.

Putting together and releasing an album is one of those creative endeavors that are especially dependent on partial-frog approach. Because if you try to do the “whole frog” approach, you just aren’t going to get started on any of the key album-creation phases, because they’ll seem so daunting. Think about it: “I’m going to hole myself up and write 12 killer songs” is a nonstarter. So is “I’m going to record this thing from scratch and it’s going to be the best thing I’ve ever done.” Instead of thinking this way (and then doing nothing of the sort because it’s so intimidating), write one song. Or one verse, even. Then another. Then yet another. Then book a bit of studio time and see how they’re sounding. And so forth.

All of these partial frogs will add up more quickly, and less stressfully, than you’d imagine. And the results can be delightful. What’s your frog? Can you bite off a chunk and move forward? I recommend it.

Micah Solomon
President & Founder
Oasis Disc Manufacturing

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