Most people are inundated with too much to do and too little time to do it in. We are literally swamped with work and personal responsibilities. As you struggle to get caught up, new tasks and responsibilities build up and hence you can never do everything that you have to do.
There’s an old saying that goes, “If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!”
This technique was introduced by Brian Tracy in his book ‘Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’.
Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the most difficult item on your to-do list, and the one you are most likely to procrastinate on; because, if you eat that first, then it’ll give you energy and momentum for the rest of the day. But if you don’t and you let it sit there on the plate and stare at you while you do a hundred unimportant things, it can drain your energy and you won’t even know it.
For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life.
The first rule of frog eating is: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the uglier 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.
The second rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and stare 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.
You need three key qualities to develop the habits of focus and concentration, which are all learnable. They are: a decision to develop the habit of task completion, discipline to practice the principles through repetition and practice, and backed with determination to keep at it until the habit is becomes a permanent part of your personality.