WHY Fronts: Eat that Frog (Procrastination)

Published: 22 October 2019 Ezine

Author: Chris Woodgate,Quality Improvement Partner, SCoR & RCR

The famous author Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “If it is your job to eat a live frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, and if it is your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. You will have the satisfaction that it will be the worst thing you do that day.”

The frog is that ‘thing’ on your to do list that you just don’t have any inclination to do. Perhaps it is that piece of reflective work you need for your CPD or the trip to the dentist you really are overdue for. 

When the HCPC comes calling for your evidence files you will wish you had done that piece of work or when you do get to the dentist and you have to have something done which could have been avoided if you had only gone earlier. 

If you ‘eat the frog’ it means you just get on and do it before the ‘frog’ eats you; that is, you will dwell on it all day/week/month until it gets done nagging at your conscience until deadline day. This is commonly known as procrastination.  

Once you do the task/job you will have a sense of accomplishment or at least be glad it is all over safe in the knowledge that if the HCPC come calling you will be ready.

How then do you recognise your ‘frogs’? Take a look at your day to day tasks and see if you recognise any of the following:-

  • Things you need to do but actually don’t want to do;
  • Things you need to do and actually want to do;
  • Things you don’t need to do but actually want to do;
  • Things you don’t need to do and actually don’t do.

Procrastination or the ‘frog’ is 1. Things you need to do but actually don’t want to do.  

Now you know what your ‘frog’ is how do you eat it?

Firstly, it is a live frog so you really shouldn’t leave it too long or you will also have to catch it again before eating. How many times have you had to play catch up at work because you didn’t do something straight away? The answer is just ‘eat it’: complete the task, do the unwanted job and get on with the rest of the day.

Plus, an added bonus to immediate action is that you prevent yourself from having to ‘eat a frog’ that is even older and more unattractive. A task left undone often gets more unwieldy the longer we leave it. (I tell myself this every month as my publishing deadline draws near!)

How does this fit with a quality imaging service? I would venture to suggest that, in terms of quality and safety for our patients, the first ‘do no harm’ principle is essential for our day to day working. 

It is like when we, as radiographers, look at a request and decide if the radiation dose associated with it is justified, or whether a different modality will give a better answer to the question asked. Are we aware on a day to day basis what may potentially harm our patients?

How do we know that practice is safe and ‘causes no harm’? Audit of our practice, standard operating procedures and policies can give us evidence to show we are working in a safe environment for our patients. If we are, then we automatically maintain the quality of care and probably maintain our job satisfaction too. 

Audit can be a ‘big ugly frog,’ but when you get the evidence it produces it can reap rewards where you thought they may be none to gain.

In his book ‘Eat that Frog,’1 Brian Tracey says, “What can I and only I do that, if done really well, will make a real difference?”

Remember that there is only one answer to that question at any given time. If you don’t do it, no one else can or will do it, but if you do it, it will make a major difference.”

Next time you are given the task (live frog) of completing an audit or other activity associated with quality & safety why not ‘eat the frog’ immediately? It can do wonders for your CPD.

If you have any queries or questions don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

Chris Woodgate
Quality Improvement Partner RCR/SCoR. 
www.sor.org/qsi www.rcr.ac.uk/qsi

1Tracey. B. 2002. Eat That Frog. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco IBSN 1-57675-198-8