As Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
The frog is that one thing you have on your to-do list that you have absolutely no motivation to do and that you’re most likely to procrastinate on. And we all have these moments and sometimes we avoid it for so long that it really starts to get in our heads and affect our productivity. Eating the frog means to just do it, otherwise the frog will eat you, meaning that you’ll end up procrastinating it the whole day, week, month or even year!
Once that one task is done, the rest of the day will be an easier ride and you will get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of your day.
Think of it like this, if you get that one big frog eaten in your day you’ll go to bed better feeling so much more relieved that you’re not having to wake up to it in the morning. Chances are you’ll even sleep better too 😴
How do you spot the frog?
There are always some tasks we would like to tick off of our to-do list as soon as possible and that if accomplished would help us feel better, but are just so unmotivating to do.
We usually wait until the end of the day to tackle them, often realising we do not have any more time to do them today and pushing them on the to-do list for the day after. This builds pressure and stress. You’re tired, you’re mentally wound up and it’s never the best time to try and tackle a big task or one needing your full attention. Not working at your best won’t achieve your best result and it might cost you a golden opportunity.
The more you avoid it, the heavier it becomes mentally and the harder it becomes to go back and tackle it. This can lead to burn out, tears, break downs and more.
Let’s use the Eisenhower Box technique, you can divide your to-do list in 4 categories:
So from the examples given, it’s clear to see that the frogs are the tough stuff. The stuff you are avoiding.
What if I have 2 or more frogs?
I’ve definitely had mornings where I felt like I should run an aquarium because I felt like I had a hundred frogs to tackle. What it really showed me was that I just wasn’t in the mindset where I was getting them taken care of and so they multiplied, they got bigger, more stressful and I found myself wanting to hide from them. But if you don’t eat the frog, then it’s going to eat you. This frog could be the tax man banging on your door because your return is late, and you don’t even want to deal with your book keeping right now, but guess what? The tax man doesn’t care! He wants his money and he’s your frog!
If you have more than one important or difficult thing to achieve for the day, simply tackle the biggest task first. The one that scares you the most, challenges you the most or requires your biggest effort is the big frog. Eat him first, always.
Facing the most important and biggest task of the day first thing in the morning means you will tackle it with a clearer mind, when you haven’t been overwhelmed by the days stresses. Working in the best state for yourself is always going to result in getting that task done well.
Remember that the longer you wait to eat the frog, the more that it will wear you down mentally and will be harder to tackle. So just start.
✔️ Take action
Starting and taking action is key. Just pick one frog and eat it without over thinking it too much. Discipline yourself on working on your task until it’s completed. The reward yourself when you finally chomp it down and finish.
So many out there confuse activity with productivity and efficiency, keeping themselves “busy” the whole day but not really achieving a lot or getting any of the important stuff done. You may even be guilty of this without realising. Ever spent an hour or two aimlessly scrolling social media only to look at the clock and think “oh shit!” Yep! We’ve all been there. But what could you have achieved in those 2 hours that would have resulted in true progress and results?
✔️ Create a better habit
To truly be successful at this technique and to become more efficient and productive, it’s really important that you get yourself into the habit of tackling the biggest frog on your list each morning.
It doesn’t matter whether your frogs are all small tasks or whether it’s a major difficult and important one, if you can get yourself into a better habit of doing this every day then you will trigger your brain to produce endorphins and dopamine that your brain produces which will help you stay focused, productive and motivated to keep doing more.
✔️ Plan ahead
Waking up in the morning and trying to choose your frog for the day can be really stressful and could trigger you to just put it in the too hard basket and not even get started. A really simple trick for this is to write down your frog/s the night before, set the intention to wake up and eat the frogs on the list. Then all you have to do is wake up and get stuck in.
Just remember that even one frog gone in your day is one less screeching in your ear at night. And eventually once you get into a great new habit of eating frogs for breakfast, they’ll become quieter in your mind, you’ll become more productive and efficient and you’ll find yourself eventually waking up in search of new frogs (big opportunities) to get stuck into!
So now you know what they are, time to write your list for the morning. What are the frogs in your life?
What’s the BIG one you’ve been avoiding?
Tomorrow morning wake up and EAT THE DAMN FROG!!! 🐸 You’ll feel so much better for it.