When it comes to getting things done, how do you proceed? Do you take the “eat-the-biggest-frog-first” approach and do the biggest or most difficult thing first? For some people, that approach can work very well. The idea is that by tackling the “biggest frog” first, you not only get that project done, but you also free up the energy that you might have spent thinking or worrying about getting it done. If this idea appeals to you or works for you, go for it. Use it to get those items on your to-do list checked off!
Moving With The Flow
However, if that has not worked so well for you (or has not worked at all), there is another, completely opposite approach which can be equally effective for getting things done. It’s the idea of “the path of least resistance.” As the name implies, you move with the flow, not against it. I have known about and appreciated this idea for some time now because it fits for me philosophically. However, I attribute a better understanding and more practical use of it to Jennifer Hofmann of Inspired Home Office. I participated in a class she offers called “The Wish Kit” in which she guided us to create not only a vision for, but also the initial steps to creating an office or studio or workspace that works for us and even nurtures and inspires us.
In “the path of least resistance” approach, the idea is to generate energy and build momentum for what you want to accomplish. Instead of going for the “big frog,” you begin with the task or project that has the most appeal, that sounds like the most fun and/or is the easiest.
“What?” You may say, “That won’t work! I’ll just do easy stuff and won’t get the hard stuff done.” Perhaps. However, the brilliance behind this approach is that it tends to clear the way so that you can get stuff done! Doing the easy or even the fun task has a way of lightening our mood and increasing our energy, thus creating a better environment to do those very tasks that we may be putting off or even dreading. This approach is like oiling a rusty or squeaky part in our home. The part becomes smoother and easier to move. And we often feel an “Ahhhhh” sense of relief. Using the path of least resistance allows our own process to move more smoothly and easily.
Let It Be Easy!
Next time, instead of gritting your teeth and pushing through something, why not give this approach a try? Purposefully decide to experiment with this way of getting things done. Pick something that you’d like to do, something that you want to do, something that is easy to do, then notice if you feel less stuck or if you have more energy or your thinking becomes clearer. Any and all of those results are possible. It is a tried-and-true approach!
Then you are in a more effective position to “kiss your monster on the nose.” (Doesn’t that sound preferable to eating a big frog????) If you think about “kissing your monster on the nose,” it has a sense of peace and resolution to it, not a sense of having to “gear yourself up for battle.” Kissing your monster on the nose may just be a matter of breaking down the project in front of you into the tasks or steps that will allow you to accomplish it. It may be that you just haven’t stopped to take the time to think through what may be involved or that you need to do some research to get more information for what’s in front of you. You want to make sure that you have the necessary information and resources you need to accomplish your task or project!
If you think about being your own best friend, you want to encourage yourself with positive motivation as much as you can instead of forcing yourself or giving yourself grief when what you’re doing isn’t working! And, aside from being a “kinder, gentler way,” the path of least resistance is very effective! You do get done what you’re wanting to get done, but you go about it in perhaps a very different way.
If you’ve been looking for an approach to increase your productivity without being mean to yourself, give this one a try. You may very well be surprised at how incredibly effective it is!