Eat the Frog: Your New Time Management Tactic

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When needing to do many tasks in a day, most people will make it a point to put their heaviest and most taxing one in the middle of the day after a few mini-tasks, or even worse, put it off completely. But what if there was a method that could help you get that big task done and save you ample time for rest and other things? In Brian Tracy’s 2001 book Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, he explains his productivity method called Eat the Frog, which has the basic premise of getting your biggest and ugliest task done first thing in the morning. 

If you’re not a morning person, you might ask why it has to be in the morning. Why is it so early? And why can’t it be done later in the day? You know in your heart and soul that you’ll get it done… but will you? To reason this out, here are some reasons you should “eat the frog”.

Simply because you need to do it.

According to the Eisenhower box technique, there are four ways you can sort your priorities in a day:

  1. Important – urgent = do it now
  2. Important – not urgent = decide a time to do it
  3. Urgent – not important = delegate it
  4. Not urgent – not important = delete it

In the context of the Eat the Frog method, your “frog” is your “important-urgent” task. In other words, whether you like it or not, you need to do it. When you sort through your tasks, your frog is oftentimes the thing you are going to dread doing, but need to do, anyways. This could be a house chore, a huge project, or preparation for an important meeting. Any task that makes you feel rushed or even slightly anxious is the task you should try to get done first. And once you get it done, what happens? The burden lightens. You can spend the rest of your day without that huge weight on your shoulders, knowing that you finally got that wretched chore out of the way.

It stops you from overestimating yourself.

Some people have the tendency to list too many things on their agenda for a short amount of time. You may believe you’ll get all of those done, but in reality, you won’t. It’s either that or you do achieve all of them, but you’ll be too drained and burned out at the end of the day to function for the next. When you apply the Eat the Frog method, it will stop you from doing this. 

Eating the frog prevents you from overworking (or trying to) and allows you to focus on less. Contrary to what most believe, when you focus on less, you end up doing more. This is because finishing one huge task takes an entire bullet off of your agenda, instead of having several half-finished tasks. When you’re not multitasking, your mind will be clearer as you focus on the one thing you need to do at that very moment. Furthermore, getting something done first thing in the morning will help motivate you to keep your momentum going throughout the day. With the drive you get after finishing a heavy task, you’ll feel energized enough to get through even more tasks on your agenda!

It allows you to plan ahead.

Because you have to evaluate which of your tasks are deemed the most important, you’ll inevitably end up thinking about all the other tasks you have to do as well. Sorting these tasks in accordance with their priority and importance will allow you to contemplate on how you’ll go about your day, and consequently, your week, your month, and so on and so forth. This doesn’t need to be a strict agenda, of course. Your goals are always going to be flexibly changing, but what matters is that you know which ones are most important to get done immediately. 

It’s important to ask yourself what is worth your time the most. When you finish eating your frog and you’re dead tired, at least you know that you got something extremely essential already checked off your to-do list.

When you get the hang of eating your frog, you’ll be able to plan your days fluidly. Keep in mind that you need to get your biggest assignment done first, and everything else will follow.

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