Mark Twain once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” We highly recommend that you don’t eat a frog but there is wisdom in his words if we apply this philosophy to our worklife.

In business, Eat the Frog means that you do the tasks you find the hardest or dread first thing. The challenging jobs like an important presentation or research for an essential project or doing your filing, expenses or clearing your inbox because you simply don’t enjoy it.

Distractions are everywhere and it is so easy to get lost in checking your social media or doing a bit of cheeky online shopping. reports that “Responding to hundreds of emails, attending meetings for the sake of it and completing unnecessary admin all add up to 441,827,088 days a year of time wasting. 60% of 2,040 UK employees surveyed admitted they spend at least half a day per week on tasks they see as a waste of time in the office.”

Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time who coined the term advocates that you tackle the most difficult tasks in the morning while your energy levels are high. This results in less anxiety and procrastination because you’ve got the jobs done early leaving you feeling more relaxed and productive throughout the rest of the day.

If you think the Eat the Frog method is right for you, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the most challenging or important task on your to-do list. This is your frog.
  2. Make some time to get this task done. Aim to do it first thing in the morning, where possible.
  3. Eliminate distractions. If you’re always looking at your phone, turn off your phone. If notifications break your focus, switch them off. From this point until completion, all that matters is your frog.
  4. Get your task done and move on with your day!*

Sounds easy in principle but it does require you to be disciplined as you need to:

  1. Define your goals and write them down.
  2. Break those goals down into tasks.
  3. Break those tasks down into the smallest possible subtasks.
  4. Prioritise your tasks, and delete or delegate tasks you don’t need to do.
  5. Schedule time on your calendar every single day and do your most important tasks first thing in the morning.
  6. Focus on your goal task (your frog) during your scheduled time, and work on it until it’s complete. (This is the actual eating of the frog).**

Like every business technique, Eat the Frog will not be applicable 100% of the time. There will be mornings where you just can’t get going, even after 5 cups of coffee, or your boss calls an emergency meeting for 9 o’clock but if you stay hungry and eat the frog most of the time, you will achieve more and find that your afternoons are not consumed by procrastination.

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