“If it’s your job to eat a frog,
it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.”

~ Mark Twain ~

It’s worth noting that Mark Twain didn’t actually say that – the above is actually a spin on a quote by 18th century writer Nicolas Chamfort – but the sentiment is nonetheless valid.

Prioritising seems simple enough, but is it? Can you honestly say that you effectively prioritise, or are you guilty of conjuring excuses to hold off eating that frog?

There are generally four types of tasks that we face on a daily basis:

  • Things you want to do, and need to do.
  • Things you want to do, but don’t need to do.
  • Things you don’t want to do, but need to do.
  • Things you don’t want to do, and don’t need to do.

Does the order of the list reflect the chronology of your workflow? Do you start with the enjoyable, simple tasks, or get bogged down in discretionary activities that dominate your day?

We are predisposed to these kinds of activities. They give us a sense of completion, the energy to continue.

Then we meet the frog, and the energy fades. There’s no motivation to tackle a task so dreadful, so in contrast with our wants, that we end up doing a less than optimal job.

So how can we avoid this, in order to make the most of the day? The answer is easy: start the day with a breakfast of frog.

Don’t stare at it, trying to work up the courage to take the first bite. Hop right in. And if you have to eat two frogs that day, eat the ugliest one first.

In this, you develop discipline, and discipline breeds the kind of positive addiction that once compelled us to start a work day with those things we wanted to do. Before long, you will no longer dread eating frogs, but go about the task as a matter of habit. That is the goal.

From now on, let your priorities be as follows:

  • Things you don’t want to do, but need to do.

These are the frogs. Eat them fast, eat them well. Leave not a crumb on the plate, knowing that you have done well, and the best is yet to come.

  • Things you want to do, and need to do.

Reward yourself with the gems; those rare tasks that embody everything you love about your job.

That’s it. Those other two types of tasks above are nothing more than distractions and procrastination. If you find them weighing on your day, it’s time to ask why. Isn’t it time to start delegating less important tasks to those who can capably perform them in order to provide you with those much sought after extra hours in the day?

Bon appétit!

Join the 8 Percent.

Join the group that everyone's talking about! Just enter your name and email to receive a weekly update on what's new in the elite world of the 8 Percenters, as well as special offers, invitations and free downloads.