Always Start with a Frog

Frog ImageWhat kept you awake last night? Was there one thing mentally nagging you that kept you from a restful night’s sleep? That one thing that wouldn’t let you take control of your thoughts last night will continue dominating your mental energy today — unless you do one thing:

Eat the frog.

Mark Twain popularized a way to procrastinate less and get more done. “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you start your day by doing your least favorite thing, then you’ve already accomplished the worst task you will face that day. You can do anything when you know the worst is behind you.

It’s human nature to arrange a to-do list from easiest to worst. It’s even more common to get distracted and add additional easy tasks before moving to the most challenging items on the list. For me, the task I avoid the most is the expense report. It’s not difficult or stressful. It’s just tedious. I’ll do anything to avoid working on my expense report. I’ll find any reason to procrastinate and avoid entering piles of receipts into an archaic system.

Sometimes the task we avoid is far more challenging. A performance issue with an employee or a presentation to senior executives are tough tasks that consume massive amounts of mental energy and cause stress.

But pushing those tasks to the end of the day only exacerbates the problem! When you avoid the frog until the end of the day, that frog slowly erodes your focus, enthusiasm, and energy all day long. By the time you are forced to eat the frog, you’re not at your personal best.

To be your best, start with the worst.

Eat the frog first thing in the morning and enjoy the freedom of knowing that for the rest of the day, you can work on the things you enjoy doing. Eating the frog first thing in the morning gives you momentum to keep taking ownership of your day. A sense of accomplishment is like a natural 5-Hour Energy Shot for your work day.

Tonight, when you can’t sleep because you’re thinking about a task you want to avoid tomorrow, you’ll know that’s your frog. Wake up, eat the frog, wash it down with a cup of coffee and enjoy feeling like you’re unstoppable for the rest of the day!