I’ve gotten this tip from a book by Brian Tracy, and it has served me really well. The tip is really simple:
Start your day by knocking out the most unpleasant thing on your to-do list first.
If you’re like me, your daily to-do list almost always has that “frog” that you want to do least. For me today, it’s writing this blog post. I’d rather get carried away by the comfortable daily routine. But deep down, I know what my frog is and I’m eating it now.
Your frog may be different. Inevitably though, it’s that thing that you would rather postpone or not do altogether. You find an excuse to start with easier, more comfortable things – replying to emails, checking Facebook, reading the news – and the frog gets swept under the carpet.
Don’t do it. Make a deliberate decision to “eat the frog” and do that unpleasant thing first. For one thing, you will good about yourself. Deep down inside you know that the day’s frog is really important (see below), so you will have a sense of satisfaction even if you don’t accomplish anything else today.
The second reason is more profound. Our frogs are typically the high-priority, long-term things that may come with a little pain now but promise great rewards in the future – or help avert much more unpleasant things. Setting up a dentist appointment is an easy example.
Third, frogs often require that we step out of our comfort zone. Trust me, I would rather be replying to emails or testing our company’s Android app instead of writing this post. But I know that stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow, and I’m willing to suffer a little pain to achieve that.
Eating your daily frog requires you to be honest with yourself. Once you know what your frog is today, there really are no excuses – it has to be dealt first thing. The more you practice this, the more automatic this daily decision will become.
Be honest with yourself, identify your frog and eat it today! I’ve just eaten mine.