Mark Twain, considered the father of American literature, once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” These words inspired Canadian businessman and author, Brian Tracy, to create a method to help people prioritize and increase their productivity, which he called “eat the frog”. Below, we’ll explain what this technique is and when it’s worth trying. Read on to find out more.

What is the eat the frog technique?

The eat the frog technique is a time management method that involves doing the most difficult and unpleasant task first in the day. This concept is based on the idea that putting off difficult tasks only makes things worse – because the longer we postpone a task, the more it scares us and the harder it is to get on with it, especially when there is less and less time left. In contrast, completing a difficult task at the very beginning of the day gives us a sense of satisfaction and motivation to continue working because “the worst is over”. It is believed that this technique is an effective way to increase productivity and improve the efficiency of our work.

When to use the eat the frog method?

As this technique is highly versatile, it can be applied in various areas of life. When it comes to private life, it may refer to chores like ironing, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the fridge – according to the concept in question, we should start with the least liked or most time-consuming activity. Things are no different in professional life when, for example, a project we have to put a lot of time and effort into is on our to-do list. What tasks will be your “frog to eat” will depend on your position and personality.

Key principles of the eat the frog technique

In his book, Brian Tracy points out that putting off difficult tasks can lead to stress, inefficiency, and a lack of job satisfaction. Starting the day by completing the most difficult task, on the other hand, can give us a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue working, and even self-satisfaction since we “ate that frog.” To successfully implement the technique he describes, follow the steps outlined below.

Create a to-do list

At the very beginning of the day, write down all your responsibilities and mark each one as “easy,” “moderate,” or “difficult. Difficult tasks can include those that are the most important as well as those that are simply time-consuming. They can also include boring tasks that you don’t want to do because you don’t enjoy doing them and those that require deep focus and concentration.

You can prepare such a to-do list in Firmbee – a project and team management tool. You can give tasks statuses (available in the system or modified according to your needs) and priorities, as well as set deadlines for their completion.

Start your day by completing the hardest task

Choose the task that has the greatest impact on your goals and is the most difficult, and then start doing it first thing in the morning when you are the most productive. Don’t try to do other tasks at the same time – focus on this task until you finish it. It may take longer than you expected to complete this task – but don’t give up and keep working on it until it’s done. Also, remember to avoid distractions. Turn off notifications, minimize browser tabs, and mute your phone so you can focus on it fully. Also, if you have the opportunity, say no to requests for help, and don’t talk to anyone until you’ve completed the task.

Reward yourself

When you have completed the most difficult task on your list, take a break to feel fully satisfied. You can also reward yourself in other ways – both at work (coffee with a teammate) and outside of work. Rewarding yourself is important because it helps reinforce positive habits and motivates you to complete more difficult tasks. In particular, it encourages you to maintain a high level of productivity and to keep striving to achieve your goals.

Eat the frog technique – summary

The eat the frog technique is a powerful tool for managing your time and increasing your productivity. Its main idea is to prioritize the most important tasks and get them done at the very beginning of the day so that you have more control over your responsibilities and avoid the procrastination that often leads to stress and delays. It’s also important to remember that this method is just one tool among several other strategies and choosing the right techniques depends on each person’s needs and goals. Ultimately, effective task management requires experimenting with different approaches and selecting those that work best for an individual’s work style.

eat the frog

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Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.