Eat That Frog!

I'll admit it. I'm a planner.

I used to be proud of it and even tried my hand at wedding planning. But I gradually came to realize that spending an entire working day just planning a project is not a good use of my time.

One of the great things about freelancing is the ability to raise your hourly income by being more productive. Planning doesn't directly equal income. Productivity does.

As I've become more focused on productivity, I've begun to recognize a lot of planning for what it is: a convenient way to procrastinate. Sure, you feel like you're working, but you're probably just delaying the actual work.

To make sure I'm getting the most important thing on my schedule done every morning, I … eat a frog.

If you haven't heard of this technique, let me assure you, I don't eat an actual frog.

Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, made this concept popular.

Basically, you do the worst thing on your list first thing. Then the rest of the day is easy.

Here's how to determine what your own frog is and make sure you eat it:

Before you end work for the day today, figure out your most important tasks for tomorrow. These should be things that will move you closer to your goals or directly impact your income. My list includes writing a project proposal, calling a client, and updating my website.

Now, choose the worst of the most important things – the one you're dreading the most – and circle it. Then put a star next to your favorite item.

I'm scared to death of making phone calls – even “warm” calls – so that's definitely my frog. I'll do it first thing tomorrow morning.

This sets my tone for the day. I can do anything! And I have more energy and passion.

Next, I'll write and send that project proposal. But in comparison to my frog, the proposal is a piece of cake.

Then, once all my tasks are done for the day, I'll reward myself with my favorite task: updating my website.

Now, this only works if you eat the frog first thing in the morning. Resist the temptation to do small things first. Don't check email. Don't return phone calls. Don't write a nonessential blog post. And don't plan how you're going to eat that frog.

Just eat it.

If you allow yourself to procrastinate by doing smaller, less essential tasks, your motivation and valuable time will be gone. Then you'll have to tackle that big, scary task with less enthusiasm and energy. If you're like me, that means you'll put it off until tomorrow and feel guilty.

If you have a 9-to-5 job, you might be wondering how you can eat the frog first thing in the morning and still get to work …

You have a few choices. You could get up earlier and eat your frog before work, or you could schedule time each evening to eat your frog.

I personally recommend getting up earlier because after you come home from your J.O.B., your creative energy is likely gone. And other obligations will be screaming for your attention.

If you commute to work in traffic, try leaving your house an hour earlier. Eat your frog at the office. This way, you miss the morning traffic and save yourself some time and frustration.

What do you think? Do you already eat a frog every morning? Or are you going to start by making it your New Year’s resolution? Comment here.

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Published: December 19, 2012

11 Responses to “Eat That Frog!”

  1. I have been using the Eat That Frog technique for a couple years. It really works. I still dread eating the frog until its gone. I am working on something that will make it more palatable like a psychological Frog Spice Blend.

    Guest (Gary Cunnane)

  2. For me eating frog in the morning is the only way that works. I have to get those tough jobs out of the way first, then it's all down hill from there. Calling people is a tough one, especially when it is a first time, again early in the morning works best. Thank you for the was an excellent reminder.

    Guest (JR)

  3. Thanks Christina

    Yours words resonat with me! I am a planner and I immediately saw the benefit of what you said - so yes, I will make my New Year's resolution to eat that Frog- I know its hard but I know where I want to go and this is a good way to get me there!


    Guest (CJ Knapp)

  4. I say, Absolutely! From my own personal experience, everything the article suggests is the only way to be productive. I spend a lot of time preparing and when I do that, I am too tired or it's too late to do the actual task.
    I will "eat the frog" first thing from now on. Thank you.


  5. Eat it.first thing,if I, procrastinate it is on my mind all day.It is on my mind all day and effects the things I,do it can effect decisions and cloud judgement. I,don't chisel in stone,latter on u may be hit by a solution u think wow it was there all the time,I,didn't see it because I,was fearful of getting it wrong. Another trick is to stop before u make a mistake u can't fix. Go to sleep,often times u wake up with the solution. You wonder why u didn't think of it before?my theory,remove yourself from the problem.u will then be able to see the more hint write it down,and draw a picture. Bitercreek Dalton

    Guest (Bitercreek Dalton)

  6. Yes Christina, I know what you are talking about eating the frog. At my 6-2 J.O.B. I try to get the hardest part done first if I can. But in my line of work that isn't always possible.
    On another note I want to start a website through AWAI, but my finances just holds me back. I plan on resolving to start a website in the coming year somehow. I have so much to write but for now it's a hobby. And yes, my best time to write is early mornings before heading out. And I do get up earlier.

    Guest (Mark Anderson)

  7. The article is amazing and helpful. I am hoping to start working soon now that i have ordered the AWAI Accelerated Program for Six Figure thanks to AWAI's holiday gift of reduced prices for programs. though I write articles at Street Articles at Wealthy Affiliate, I also like to eat my frog in the morning because the mind is fresh. I will be doing the same when I start working at AWAI. Thank you for the rich information.


  8. Christina, thanks for the timely advice! We are all guilty of procrastinating on tasks we'd rather not do. Like working on my website special report!

    Thanks for the gentle "push".

    Jerry Bures

  9. Excellent article and so well written Christina, I wish I was a fraction that good. Excellent comments also, all very valuable information. I notice that when I actually do it it improves everything I do all day as I feel like a hero having successfully "eaten my frog".

    It does give me the opportunity to get on my favourite hobby horse though....there is an epidemic going on so I don't single this article out...I call it "redefining the English language". Whether you decide to eat the frog or not, you have still had a PLAN that you either followed or didn' other words, it isn't the planning that is at fault it is the "procrastination"..."Analysis Paralysis" might be a more accurate description.

    The adage that those who fail to plan plan to fail is as true today as it ever was...Without the planning you wouldn't even have a frog to eat...Think about it...

    Gavin M

  10. Thanks, Christina Gillick. I laughed out Loud when I remembered this strategy of doing the more difficult task first. I have worked as a delivery driver in the past and we would deliberately make our most difficult deliveries First if we could. It is kind of the same. Take Care.

    Peter Corraini

  11. Eating the Frog is a great idea and is perfect for me. Since I absolutely hate frogs, I'm going to compare my worse task to a frog and get it out of the way as fast as possible. I think it will definitely make the rest of my day better. I'm already making my list for tomorrow and identifying my worst and favorite tasks. Thanks for the awesome suggestions and motivation.

    Guest (Larre60)

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