Brian Tracy, author of the International Bestseller "Eat That Frog!", promotes eating your biggest frog first thing in the morning every single day in order to get more of the important things done. If you can manage it, he believes that you will reach new levels of productivity while, in turn, learning to overcome procrastination. This philosophy stems from a popular saying by Mark Twain, a famous American writer, who once said,
"If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long."
In order to fully understanding this perspective, we should step back and understand why procrastination is a common human behavior.
Many of us can recall pulling all-nighters with our classmates, cramming in a study session just hours before an exam, but why? Why is this behavior so popular? When we examine our list of to-dos for the day, we naturally gravitate towards the easier tasks to swallow, like cleaning the house. So much so that we end up with a squeaky clean house by the end of the day and the main task left undone. The reason behind this is we put off the 'thinking' tasks that require our full focus and mental capacity simply because it is 'hard' or in the case of the frog analogy, it's the ugliest frog of the bunch.
So how do we snap out of procrastination? You can try mentally preparing yourself with a reminder set on your phone during the peak hours of your day (the time which you are most productive) that by eating that frog, you'll get the best value-add results rather than checking off tasks for the sake of checking them off without adding any real value to your project. According to Susanne Madsen, author of The Power of Project Leadership, you can also ask yourself the following:
Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
Am I being productive or just active?
Consider what your responses are to these two questions and adjust your mindset accordingly to maximize your productivity. Continue to reminder yourself that one of the most important decisions you can make at the start of each day is your choice of what you will do immediately and what you will do later. We are all victims of procrastination when it comes to project work and personal tasks. We are also the only one who can dig ourselves out of this habit. I hope you find yourself hungry enough each morning to eat that frog first!
Tracy, B. (2017). Eat that frog! 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. Berrett-koehler publishers, 3rd edition.
Madsen, S. (2019). The power of project leadership. Kogan page limited, 2nd edition.