I’ve been writing a series about Productivity Boosting techniques this month. So far, we have talked about decluttering your workspace to get in the zone, the Get Things Done method of organizing all your tasks in one place, and the very fun Pomodoro Technique that has it’s origins in a tomato shaped kitchen timer. This week, I’ll tell you about another fun productivity boosting method that involves Mark Twain and frogs. Keep reading…
A famous quote from the brilliant Mark Twain goes like this: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” He then goes on to say: “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.”
What Mark Twain is saying is this: if you’re looking at an ugly, unpleasant, and somewhat metaphorically slimey task, it is best to get that done first. Get the hardest task done first!
Pretty straightforward advice, don’t you think? However, if you’re like the rest of us normal people, we tend to put off the most unpleasant task for last. We have a very human tendency to keep skirting around these ugly tasks wishing that they eventually go away or (deviously) hoping that somebody picks them up.
Listen, that is never going to happen. Nobody else will pick up the slack for you, much less do the tasks that are hard and unpleasant for you. And if you work from home, there will be nobody else to do it anyway.
So you better eat the frog! The theory behind this is for you to get the hardest, most unpleasant task over and done with first thing in the day – and the rest of your day will be smooth sailing. This productivity method was developed by Brian Tracey and he has written about it here. This method has only 3 steps to it, yet it could possibly be the hardest one to follow and execute. Here’s how it works:
- At the end of your workday, make a list of everything you need to accomplish the next day – If you’re in the habit of list making, this won’t come as a problem for you. Just write down everything you have to do for the next day and you’re good to go.
- Identify your frog (or frogs) and put them on the top of the list – Let’s face it. You have that one looming task you always tend to put off for another day. Maybe because it looks hard, or overwhelming, or maybe so much detail goes into it’s completion, or it’s just plain unpleasant. There’s that one task that gives you anxiety because, well, you just don’t want to do it. This task is your proverbial frog. It is apprehensive and you waste so much time and energy avoiding it.
- In the morning, eat that frog – That’s it! Eat the proverbial frog and get over your most daunting task first thing in the morning. That will free you up for the rest of the day. And when I say free, you can literally let out a sigh of relief that you have gotten over the task that you didn’t want to do. You are now free of anxiety. You are now free to focus on other tasks that also require your attention. You are now free of spending unnecessary amounts of energy fussing over how to tackle that frog.
Go ahead and try it. Do the hardest task first and get it off your plate. Now, don’t you feel so much better? Take a break. Enjoy that warm, delicious, cup of coffee. You deserve it. As always, remember to: Stay Humble, Hustle Hard. Good luck!
Written by Jaie O.- The Help