One of the keys to being consistently creative, productive, and prolific is to make sure that you’ve got the right balance in your workflow. Sometimes that’s a matter of looking at your create, connect, and consume balance, but there are other ways at looking at how you work, too.

There are four pillars of meaningful action:

  • Future-building
  • Fun
  • Firefighting
  • Frogs

I won’t go into too much detail here, but today, we’re going to focus on Future-building, Fun, and Frogs.

Do a Future-Building Project

Future-building projects are those proactive projects that always seem to fall to the bottom of the ToDo list. The reality is that if you don’t make the time for them, they’ll never get done — no one’s sitting there making you do them, and it’s not like the house is going to burn down if you don’t do them. (For those familiar with Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, these are similar to QII tasks.)

Everyone has at least one future-building project that they’ve been thinking about doing/putting off/beating themselves up for not doing. Pick one of yours and spend 10 minutes thinking about what actions (tasks) you’d need to do to start pushing it forward. (If you’ve been stuck because you don’t know how to get started on it, my book Start Finishing can help.)

You don’t have to complete it, but before you can complete it, you have to start it.

Catch a Frog

A frog project is one of those projects that you really don’t want to do but know you need to do. Putting frogs off doesn’t make them any easier to do.

There are two ways to go about this, depending on your psychology and gumption: 1) pick the meanest, hairiest, and wartiest frog and start catching him, or 2) catch a frog that isn’t quite to that point yet so that you can celebrate — then consider looking at that mean one.

I usually catch the big one first because it makes my week so much easier. I can look back at the end of the week, and whether or not I’ve done a whole lot of other stuff, at least I’m not getting the stank eye from that frog anymore.

Decide which type of frog you’re going to catch. If it’s a big one, think about all the small things you can do to set yourself up for successful frog-tackling. If it’s a little one, you might need to roll your sleeves up and just get it done for 10 minutes.

Do Something Fun

I know, fun. What’s that mean anymore? Plus, we have work to do!

Somewhere along the line, fun became not-done and work became not-fun, with the result being that we often don’t enjoy doing what we’re doing, but won’t let ourselves do what we’d enjoy doing.

By fun, I don’t mean that feeling of being on a rollercoaster when you’re 8 years old. I just mean activities that make you happy and are enjoyable experiences. Although if you still enjoy rollercoasters, by all means, buckle up, throw those hands in the air, and squeal your heart out.

Amidst all of this future-building and frog-catching, it’s important to make time to do fun stuff, too. Otherwise, it’ll seem like you’re always working and not really having enjoyable experiences — this leads to burnout. And for those of you who enjoy your work like I do, just remember that all things need to be done in moderation — stepping away will both recharge you and inspire you.

Pick one fun thing to do this week and do it. It doesn’t have to be big — it just has to be fun.

Do Them in the Order That Works for You

We all work differently and have different orientations towards our work. I prefer to catch frogs earlier because it releases a lot of pent-up energy, but other people end up trying to do that and not doing anything but procrastinating.

Other people like to do the future-building stuff first, reckoning that it’s better to get some forward movement on that and the other stuff will work itself out.

Still yet other people have to have some party time before they can feel ready to commit to some of the “harder” stuff.

Though I can show you general patterns, I can’t tell you specifically what you should do in a post like this. If you were a client, it’d be another matter, but I have to leave you to your own devices for now.

I will say this, though: if you plan to do your fun project last, commit to doing it with someone else so that you can’t bail on it.

As you practice more, you can integrate these 3 Fs into your daily workflow, but to get started, check your weekly project list to make sure you’re covering at least one Future-building project, one Frog project, and one Fun project. The Weekly Momentum Planner gives you a weekly view, so if you’d like some support on this, pick it up from the free planners page.

Additionally, a lot of the success of the week depends on what you do to flourish on Mondays. A great beginning of the week tends to lead to a great ending of the week.

To have a productive and fun week, build a better future, catch a frog, and have some fun.

You’ve got this!

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