Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
Though wrongly attributed to Mark Twain the concept of “eating the frog” to improve productivity is something that has gained traction over the years.
What it means from a productivity perspective is that if you face down and complete that “big” task that is hanging over your head then your productivity over the rest of the day will be higher.
If you don’t “eat the frog” then that task will be always there in your head, you will worry about it and this will have negative impact on your work and resulting productivity.
Often that task appears to be worse than it actually is, and that thinking about it is actually the problem. Having started to do this, I have found it just works. Not sure if my resulting productivity has increased, but the impact on wellbeing has been positive.
Though it’s every easy to say “eat the frog” I think there is more too it than just doing that task. It makes sense to reflect on your workflow and work patterns and explore why you aren’t eating the frog. What are you prioritising instead of the frog? What are you doing instead of the frog? Can you change that approach?
In my own practice, I would often start going through e-mail rather than face the frog. Once I realised that this was causing me to not to face the frog, then I sorted the e-mail issue out. Initially I did that by turning off and closing my e-mail client, this then stopped those distracting notifications. Longer term I moved to Inbox Zero.
If it was a big “frog”, then I would break it down into smaller frogs or tasks which were easier and faster to complete. That big frog now became a more manageable and easier to get done.
So now I face the frog. Do you eat the frog?