What does it mean to “eat that frog first”? Wow, great question? I’m glad you asked…
The idea is to identify your most painful or troublesome task and tackle it first – get it done, and get it out of the way! “Eating the frog” is an ambiguous, amphibious, token task that represents whatever it is that mentally burdens you the most each day.
No, you don’t actually eat a frog. Je suis désolé.
After you have “eaten that frog” everything else to be done is comparatively easier. If you always eat that frog first your days, by design, are progressively easier as each one unfolds. You have already climbed a metaphorical mountain, reached its peak, and everything else is an easy downhill stroll.
If you don’t eat that frog first it hangs over your head throughout the day, haunting you, sapping your energy and enthusiasm. Instead of having an easier day it sits there, waiting, staring, laughing and taunting you, until you finally give-in and make an attempt at the task when you are fed-up or have nothing else on your list of tasks except for the damn frog.
The longer you leave the frog to be eaten the less energy you have by the time you try to make progress on eating it.
It’s A Great Idea
Sure, eat the frog first! Get it out of the way. Don’t let it linger around being a nuisance.
If you have the ability to eat that frog first thing each day there’s no reason not to. I mean, who doesn’t like their days to become easier as the clock ticks over? I know I do.
“Strike while the iron is hot”, they say. Well, “Eat while the stomach is empty”, frog-eaters might also say? When you can do it, do it!
It’s A Great Idea, But
After awhile you get sick of that froggy taste. Sometimes all you want is a cheeseburger and don’t care how many frogs there are! Frogs suck!
It can become impossible to face each day knowing it’s always there waiting for you, first thing, every… single… day.
Don’t Eat That Frog First
Not all frogs are created equal. Some are far worse than others.
It’s OK to have days where you take the easy route. If eating that frog is becoming such a monumental effort that it’s actively stopping you from progressing at all and your efforts have come to a stand-still then maybe the frog can wait. Maybe ignore the frog.
You don’t have to be #1 Alpha Productivity Guru Extraordinaire who always hits the hardest task first.
Have a holiday from amphibians and give yourself a break. Tackle the easy tasks; You’ll feel better knowing that you at least got something done from the list! The frog will still be there later if and when you are ready for it.
Tackling easier tasks can even build your motivational momentum and be the jump-start you needed that helps you tackle the harder tasks.
If you do nothing else at least make your task list smaller. Sometimes it’s not only OK, but advised, to tackle the easy stuff first. Eat the turtle instead as an entrée. Cowabunga, dude!