Although I’m an avid reader I haven’t read anything from Mark Twain. Perhaps that is why I’ve never heard the expression “eat your frog”.
Over on FastCompany, Gina Trapani reports on how to work smart. Her advice is to “eat your frog” or, do your worst task first:
Twain famously said, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task, and you’re going to do it first thing in the morning.
Your worst task is the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on (for everyone it’s different…maybe even different every day, but you know the one…)
Trapani says that getting that worst task out of the way allows you to take control of your workday and be more productive. Plus I’ve heard anecdotally that people are more productive first thing in the morning so you might as well devote that productiveness to whatever is your hardest or most dreaded task.
Trapani advises writing down your “frog” for the next day at the end of each workday so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. When you get into work, don’t allow yourself to procrastinate – just “get ‘er done.”
This can be hard to do though, especially for procrastinators so it may take practice. After all, “eating your frog” doesn’t exactly seem an appealing way to start your day. But if you can get in the habit, then you’ve opened up your day to other more interesting, creative, stimulating tasks that you can better devote your attention to (versus seeing that “frog” waiting for you while you try to pretend it isn’t there).
While Trapani’s advice is directed to work life, it can just as easily be applied to your personal life too. Eating your frog can mean getting the laundry done, organizing that home office (I need to do this), mowing the lawn. What have you.
The point is, get it out of the way!