Eat Frogs First

Posted on 21. Oct, 2011 by Julia Mitchell in Encouragement

“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.”  He also said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Brian Tracy wrote a book Eat That Frog! Brian states:

Conquer the Hardest Task First

If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

Don’t Procrastinate

If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.

The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.

Benjamin Ellis added to this by grouping the frogs into a system, allowing you to identify what the worse job is that you don’t want to do but will bring about the greatest results.

I’ve taken all of this into account, added my twist and created an iphone application that will allows you to “Eat your Frog First”

I am for one guilty of procrastinating and leaving my frogs to the next day.  Writing this is an example of a frog that I should have done days ago.  I have left this ugly frog because I was not sure what to write, got sidetracked with reading other information, lots of excuses of really.  How ironic the very reason I decided to create this app was for myself and I’m been putting it off.

At the end of each day I’m disappointed in myself for not having written this.  It’s crazy.  I’m sure or well hoping there are others that feel the same way.  “Frogs First” then goes on “things to do list” for the next day. Just reading that I need to do it stresses me a little because I know I should have already done it.

Anyway, today is the day and I can’t begin to describe how good I am feeling knowing I am doing this.  I am getting done quicker than I thought.  This may be not perfectly written, but as that is something that stops me, I am publishing this as is.

So thanks for reading and I hope you are able to move forward, accomplish what needs to be done, reduce stress, increase productivity and enjoy life each and every moment of the day.


How does this work.

Begin by writing down the list of tasks that you need to do.  These may be daily, weekly, monthly.  It is important to write them down and then to give it a deadline. Tasks can be for work or for personal.

Each task then needs to be categorized into various areas as per the following example.

Frogs:              Tasks that you don’t like doing but they need to be done

Flashlight:        Tasks that you don’t like doing and they don’t need to be done

Heart:              Tasks that you love to do and you need to do them

Games:           Tasks that you love to do but you don’t need to do them – time wasters



Keeping the 80/20 rule in mind, allocate the tasks to the frog category they are going to give you 80% return on 20% of your time, energy, focus and work. These are the tasks that are constantly on your mind, you know you need to do them and they aren’t always easy to do or to get started.

The “Frogs First” are the most important tasks and priorities that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative on your life or work.   Then decide which the fattest Frog is and eat him first


These tasks you don’t like doing and they actually don’t need to be done.  Sometimes though they appear as if they are frogs but you need to turn the light up to see if they really fit into the 80/20 quantrant. Sometimes we naturally assume all ugly tasks have to be done, in reality that is not true.  So turn the torch on and highlight these distracting tasks.


These are the tasks that you love to do and you need to do them.  Because you love doing them you often are tempted to do these first.  However we all know our days are over before we have started so it is important to do these tasks after you have done your “Frogs First”.


These are the tasks that you also love to do but are time wasters.  I linked them to games as we all can be distracted by games on our computer, phone, people etc.  Keep these tasks to during your lunch break or after work.

Frogs First

Once you have allotted each of these tasks to the category you can begin to get to work on the “Frogs First”.

  • Write under the tasks anything that is going to help you get this task done first. Include names of people you need to speak with, website links, phone numbers, how much time you want to spend on the job.
  • Begin to imagine getting the task done in your mind and jot down anything that is going to help you accomplish this.
  • Be as detailed as possible as this will save you time and energy when doing the task.  Image any problems that may arise and then the feeling of success at the end of the task.
  • Rinse and repeat daily


As you begin to get into this habit you will find that you will have much more energy to get you through the day as you won’t be procrastinating on getting started.  Your productivity will soar and your sense of achievement will increase.  You will feel more in control and more empowered.

By doing “Frogs First” everyday you take away the pressure of having to do it later on in the day.  It can be applied to all areas of your life not just work.  How many times do you think to yourself you want to do exercise and by the end of the day you are so tired you can’t be bothered.  If you did this first thing in the day your attitude will be different for the rest of the day.  This is a great way to elevate stress, not just the exercise but taking away the pressure of constantly thinking I have to do that task.

Doing the “Frogs First”

These tasks are best done first thing in the morning whilst you brain is fresh, you have fewer distractions and you have the most energy.

Make sure you do this much dreaded task first before you check emails, make phone calls, turn on the tv.  Get rid of all distractions, Turn off the internet, mobile phone, iPod or whatever the distraction may be.  Every time I hear a Skype ping or email ping I tend to check and this is a major time waster.

Allocate yourself a time of 50 minutes head down no distractions.  Come up for a 10 minute break and then do another 50 minutes, another 10 minute break and then 30 minutes and a 30 minute break.

Don’t stress out too much on perfection otherwise you may not get started.  Just start at where you are at and make changes as needed along the way.

Love to hear your feedback after you have eaten your “Frogs First”





About the Author

Julia Mitchell is an online professional networker and a coach. Julia coaches and mentors like minded people to succeed in their chosen field and invites you to join with her.

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