So what is the frog and why should you eat it?
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Brian Tracy uses this quote in his book “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” as the perfect metaphor for time management.
Tracy’s premise is simple: you should tackle the hardest and most important thing on your to-do list every morning. His theory is that if you’re overwhelmed with to-dos, your instinct might be to:
Scenario A: Procrastinate on the big and important things until they’re looming and overwhelming.
Scenario B: Tackle all the small, annoying, nagging tasks first to just get them over with.
Tracy says both these courses of action are wrong. Do either and you’ll just be treading water ineffectively instead of propelling yourself forward.
Instead, you should focus on impact.
- Get crystal clear on your biggest goal: decide exactly what you want.
- Write your goal down – thinking on paper is critical.
- Set a deadline.
- Make a list of all the things necessary to achieve your goal.
- Reorganise that list in order of priority. What’s first? These are your frogs!
- Take action on those frogs immediately!
- Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your goal. Ideally, it’ll be the very first thing you do in the morning.
Plan every day in advance.
According to Eat That Frog, it’s critical to plan every day in advance and always work from a list. You’ll start macro with a master list, and then break it down into more granular monthly lists, weekly lists, and daily lists.
What’s the benefit of tackling a frog every morning? That’s the time of day when most people are most productive (this is true for us at Team Financielle), so you’ll be channelling your best self towards only the tasks that are of the highest value.
Tracy also speaks about our working environments being important – which we resonate with – and here are his tips:
- Clear everything off your desk until only the task at hand is in front of you
- Have everything you need to complete task in hand before you begin
- Make your work area comfortable, attractive, and conducive to working long periods
- Once you complete preparations, begin working immediately
- Assume the body language of high-performance: sit up straight, sit forward away from back of chair
Tracy also recommends not checking e-mail first thing in the mornings, explaining that even though technology is there to support us, it can be addictive. Just because someone sends you an e-mail does not mean you have an obligation to respond (if the e-mail is important enough, the sender will resend). Delete 80% of e-mails unread immediately. Only 20% of those remaining are urgent, put the rest in a file to respond later
Why Eat The Frog?
At the end of the day, we are mere humans with a limited amount of time every day, so you should always ask yourself: “what’s worth my time the most?” Focus only on that, and the end result is that you’ll accomplish more and will be happier.