Munif Ali

5 Questions To Learn How To "Eat The Frog"

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eat the frog

Do you feel that your work day went by without accomplishing much? Well, you’re not alone. Studies show that the average employee is productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes a day–that’s only 31% of a standard 8-hour shift! Now that you know just how little can get done, you might wonder how you can be more productive.

What if I told you that the best way to make your workday fulfilling is to eat the frog? Don't worry, it's not what you're thinking. Let’s dive in and examine what the concept of “eat the frog” is and how you can use it to your advantage. You’d be surprised at how simple and effective it is!

What does “eat the frog” mean?

The concept of “eat the frog” was first introduced by self-help expert and bestselling author Brian Tracy. The phrase is taken from Mark Twain, who said that if you eat a live frog in the morning, you’ll feel satisfied for the rest of the day since that’s the worst thing that could happen. As odd as that seems, Brian Tracy looks at the frog in a different light.

eat the frog exercise

The term “eat the frog” means doing the most difficult and crucial task at the start of your day. Tracy specifies this as the task that you’re most likely to procrastinate on. Simply put, it’s about making the hardest work the first thing you do. Similar to McRaven’s “make your bed” philosophy, Tracy focuses on making satisfaction the goal. Once you eat the frog, you’ll feel accomplished for the rest of the day.

To illustrate this point, let’s imagine that it’s the weekend and you’ve just woken up. You check your calendar and see that it’s laundry day. You groan because you hate doing laundry and you know it takes a while. However, remember to “eat the frog”. If you delay it until later, you’re only going to be upset later on. By doing it now, you can overcome the hurdle and spend the rest of the day doing easier chores. Sounds more palatable, right?

Why should I try to “eat the frog”?

While Tracy’s “eat the frog” mindset is a popular productivity concept, you might argue that it’s hard to do. It takes a lot of discipline to do something difficult in the first hour of work. However, there are plenty of psychological and emotional benefits you gain when you eat the frog. Here are three reasons why you should try to eat the frog every morning!

eat the frog questions

It builds productivity and momentum.

William McRaven and Brian Tracy share the same objective in their books: start the day right and you’ll be happier for it. For Tracy, to eat the frog is to get over the biggest roadblock of the day. That way, you set a tone for everything else you do. Here’s a better way of looking at it: if you do something so tough and tiring, then everything after will seem easier. Plus, you’d be surprised how motivated you feel after you eat the frog.

It helps you define your priorities.

Aside from building momentum, the eat the frog strategy helps you prioritize your tasks. Think about this: a survey on procrastination found that 88% of respondents procrastinated for at least one hour every day. That’s a lot of time wasted, especially if your tasks are urgent and important!

eat the frog journal

If you eat the frog, you do more than simply push yourself to work; you also remind yourself of the importance of your tasks. Remember, Tracy defined the frog as the task you’re most likely to delay. This can be problematic if the frog is also crucial to your work life. By making it your priority, you learn to put your duties at the forefront. Once that happens, you’ll discover how much you can get done in a day!

When you’re still young, it might seem like signing up for a retirement savings plan isn’t a priority yet. The focus could be on travels, enjoyment, anything that will make you feel you earned your salary. Right now, you might still have 30 or 40 years before retirement, so you might think you still have plenty of time. The catch is that retirement savings have special tax-advantaged accounts. Accounts like 401(k) and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) limit the amount that you can contribute each year.

It frees your mind from concern.

Lastly, the best thing you get when you eat the frog is relief. How so? If you postpone all your important assignments and tasks until the last minute, disaster strikes. You’ll scramble to get everything done and you’ll probably be mad at yourself for not doing it sooner. Plus, even if you’re still procrastinating, your mind will always worry about that task. The sooner you clear it from your priorities, the easier it’ll be to relax.

eat the frog meditate

What should I ask if I want to eat the frog?

Now that you know why it’s so important to eat the frog, it’s time to become more productive! You can learn how to eat the frog with five simple questions. By doing so, you’ll quickly establish your priorities and make your work hours worthwhile. Here’s what you should ask if you want to eat the frog:

What’s the most important task?

The first and most important question to ask is about the frog itself. Obviously, you can’t eat the frog if you don’t know what it is. That means you should always look at your upcoming tasks and see which one is the most difficult and necessary. 

eat the frog bow arrow

To make it easier, you can use another productivity trick called the Eisenhower matrix to spot it. All you have to do is identify which tasks are urgent or not and which ones are important or not. The tasks that tick both boxes are the ones you should examine further. Look at which one is the toughest for you. Once you find it, that’s when you can start to eat the frog.

How soon can I finish it?

In the previous question, you saw that one of the key traits of the “frog” is urgency. That’s because all tasks have a deadline or time frame you can use. Some can take as little as ten minutes to cover. Others can consume half your day. If you want to eat the frog, you need to examine how long it will take.

eat the frog deadline

Keep in mind that you should be realistic and honest about how much time your tasks require. It’s easy to overestimate and believe that you can get it done quickly. However, that’s exactly how you end up procrastinating. To eat the frog, you have to see how much time each task takes to finish. Always finish it as soon as possible. You can even break down the frog into smaller tasks to time yourself better!

How can this help make my day?

Think of this question as another way of saying “Why should I eat the frog?”. It’s important that you know the concept isn’t only for work, but your peace of mind. Procrastination builds stress and working on a task that tires you out is never easy. By making it the first thing on your agenda, you’ll free yourself from the burden. Sometimes, the best way to avoid stress is to get it done quickly.

What should I do after?

As crucial as it is to eat the frog, it’s not the only part of your workday. You can always build on your momentum by following up on your toughest task with your other priorities. This might seem tiresome, but remember that “eat the frog” lets you finish your toughest problems first! Compared to that, your other duties won’t feel as stressful or as draining. It’s like climbing down a mountain after a long hike; it’s much easier and more enjoyable!

List how you overcome when you eat the frog

Is it worth it?

Lastly, it’s important to ask if it’s worth the effort when you “eat the frog”. You can’t simply choose a task because it’s urgent or important. Think further and look at how this task will affect your company or your productivity. Does this help you move forward and work toward your goals? Remember that your frog has to be something that is difficult but worthwhile.

eat the frog worth it

If you want to eat the frog, you have to remember that all your tasks are meant for something. It’s easy to think that simple things at work, from checking emails to filing reports, are tedious. However, stop for a moment and consider what they do. Everything in a company should have a purpose. If you don’t know what it is, ask those around you. They can help you understand why the frog matters. That way, you can motivate yourself to eat the frog and do the work needed.

Takeaways:

  • “Eat the frog” is a productivity technique, introduced by Brian Tracy, meaning to tackle the most difficult and crucial task at the start of your day.
  • Tackling the toughest task first, akin to ‘eating the frog’, can build productivity, help define priorities, and free your mind from worry.
  • Prioritizing and completing the most daunting task of the day, or ‘eating the frog’, results in a feeling of accomplishment and paves the way for easier tasks.
  • The “eat the frog” technique can help you once you ask these five questions:
  • What’s the most important task?
  • How soon can I finish it?
  • How can this help make my day?
  • What should I do after?
  • Is it worth it?
  • These questions can help you identify, prioritize, and accomplish the most important and challenging tasks, leading to a more productive workday.
  • Remember, ‘eating the frog’ is all about tackling the hardest tasks first, setting the tone for the rest of the day, and experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishment.
Article Sources
  1. Brian Tracy. Accessed on June 16, 2023. Meet Brian Tracy.
  2. Flynn, J. (2022, November 2). 20 Incredible Productivity Statistics [2023]: Average Employee Productivity In The U.S. Zippia.
  3. Galiana, D. (2022, June 22). The ‘Eat That Frog’ Method : Increase your Productivity. Wimi.
  4. Laoyan, S. (2022, October 28). Why You Should Eat the Frog First [2023]. Asana.
  5. Merlo, S. Accessed on June 16, 2023. What it means to Eat the Frog. Noisli Blog.
  6. Merza, K. (2022, March 30). Eat the frog: time management technique. Tempo.
  7. Todoist. Accessed on June 16, 2023. What Is Eat the Frog? A Dead Simple System for Productivity Minimalists.
  8. Todorov, G. (2023, May 22). How to promote your blog. Learn Digital Marketing.
  9. Tracy, B. Accessed on June 16, 2023. Eat That Frog & Start Accomplishing Your Goals. Brian Tracy.

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