What is your first thought when you see such a subject? Is it about gastronomic passions or maybe perverse tortures? Fortunately, neither of them are related to the topic. Essentially, it’s about time management and productivity, and the Frog Rule can help you stop procrastinating on important things.
Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” Think of the frog as the worst, most unsavory task on your To-Do list of the day. This daunting task is probably also your most important, and the one that you most likely have no motivation to do. By eating the frog Twain meant to just do that task at the beginning of a day, otherwise, the frog will eat you – you’ll end up procrastinating it the whole day.
Tackle your major task first thing – and the self-satisfaction will trigger your brain to produce Endorphins and Dopamine – neurotransmitters that our brain produces to nudge us into doing stuff – helping you stay focused, productive and motivated to achieve more. Once the frog is eaten, you will get a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of your day, and the rest of the day will be an easier ride.
Many people are not productive simply because they confuse activity with efficiency, keeping themselves busy the whole day but not accomplishing a single important task at the end of it. Planning and tasks prioritizing – that’s what we need.
In order to get an overview of your tasks and similarly to the Eisenhower Matrix, you can divide your To-Do list into 4 categories:
Things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do.
Things you want to do and actually need to do.
Things you want to do, but actually don’t need to do.
Things you don’t want to do, and actually don’t need to do.
The frog is the things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do. However, remove the stress of choosing your frog at the start of the day. Leave your resources to tackle it instead. For example, you can do planning the evening before, prioritize and pick your frog. The morning after you’ll simply need to act on it.
If you have two or more frog tasks, start with the one you’re least excited to do. Facing the biggest and most prioritized task of the day first thing means you will tackle it with a clearer mind and while your willpower is at its strongest. Remember that the longer you wait to eat the frog, the more tired you’ll be and the more willpower it will require you.
Before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself, “What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?” …
Your ability to choose between the important and the unimportant is the key determinant of your success in life and work.
To be a real pro at this technique and be more effective with your To-Do list, it is very important to develop the habit of tackling your major task first thing each day. Turn eating the frog into a lifelong habit. Though the frog task may change from day to day, the habit of conquering that annoying task right away is what should stick.