for the Creatives

Eat the frog or take a walk

The other day I was nonchalantly grabbing a smoothie and got hit with motivational inspiration. I don’t know why smoothie places hit so hard, but I guess they know their audience. “If the first step is the hardest, start with a walk in the park,” the napkin suggested.

A brown restaurant napkin with Smoothie King's "Rule the Day" slogan/logo in the bottom right corner. In bold print across the napkin it says "If the first step is the hardest, start with a walk in the park." In the background is a tropical pastel notebook.

Now, this probably meant literally take a walk in the park to get your exercise in without waiting to commit to a strict gym regimen or something. But it also works metaphorically, in particular as part of the whole hustle culture/time management/productivity guru type conversation.

Eating the frog…

You see, there’s this saying about “Eat the frog” from Mark Twain that got picked up in productivity culture, and the concept is you know at some point in your day you have to eat a frog and it’s something you dread so you want to keep putting it off. But really, the best option (with this approach) is to get it over with – eat the frog first thing – so that the worst is out of the way and you’re clear to spend the rest of your mental energy on other things.

And that’s a great approach, I’ve used it a lot!

But, here we are, post-covid and burnt out and just needing the motivation to do _something_ with our dreams. Just enough motivation for another few words in the book, another long-overdue blogpost (ahem, hypothetically speaking), another outreach campaign, another recipe or painting or musical piece or [insert that thing that’s been looming over you for too long now]. Sure, sometimes you just need to eat that frog.

…or walk in the park

But sometimes, the first step is the hardest, so you can take Smoothie King’s advice and start with a walk in the park. Start with something pleasant and fun and something that’s beckoning, not looming. What’s the one scene you’ve been dying to get to so you can write it? What’s that pet project you keep putting off because you _should_ first do something else? I’m just gonna say it – what’s that book or movie or museum or art gallery you’ve been wanting to experience, but put off because you really should be spending time on more productive things? Jump to that thing, whatever it is. Revel in the creativity and inspiration and FUN. Remember what you love about your creativity, and it just may spur you on toward that frog seeming just a bit more edible.

I’m trying to find the balance between the eat the frog and the walk in the park. Sometimes one tactic works, sometimes the other does.

  • What do you find works for you?
  • Do you lean toward eating the frog strategy or walk in the park strategy?
  • Is there a new thing you want to try now that you haven’t before?

Let me know in the comments, let’s chat!

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