Home Leadership Eat That Frog: Reduce Procrastination and Improve Task Management

Eat That Frog: Reduce Procrastination and Improve Task Management

by Dr. Bruce Ellis
"Eat That Frog" by prioritizing tasks and tackling the biggest ones first.

“Eat That Frog!” is a popular productivity book written by Brian Tracy. The title is derived from a quote often attributed to Mark Twain. The quote suggests that if you have to eat frogs, eat the biggest one first. Then, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. In the context of the book, “eating the frog” refers to tackling your most challenging or important task first thing in the morning. This increases productivity and reduces procrastination.

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Mark Twain

Three Steps to “Eating the Frog”

If you are like me, it is typically easy for me to identify the most challenging or important task. It’s especially easy to identify if it’s something I want to avoid doing. But by focusing on completing the most challenging task early in the day, we can build momentum, boost confidence, and set a positive tone. To be most effective in “eating the frog,” follow these steps:

1. Set clear goals.

Setting clear goals involves defining specific, measurable objectives that align with your vision and mission for the educational institution. Clearly articulated goals provide you with a roadmap for guiding decision-making, resource allocation, and strategic planning efforts within your school or district. Here is a roadmap created by TCEA’s Miguel Guhlin that can support you in defining SMART goals:

2. Prioritize tasks.

Prioritizing tasks requires you to assess the importance and urgency of various responsibilities, initiatives, and projects. By prioritizing tasks based on their alignment with organizational goals and impact on student outcomes, you can allocate time and resources effectively to address the most critical needs first. If you want to explore a process for prioritizing tasks, try Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. Here’s an article that outlines the four-quadrant matrix (see number 5).

Covey's Time Management Matrix can help you prioritize tasks and "eat that frog."
Davidjcmorris, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Break tasks down into actionable steps.

Breaking tasks down into actionable steps involves dividing larger initiatives or projects into smaller, manageable components. By doing this, you create clear pathways for implementation, delegation, and progress tracking, ultimately facilitating efficient execution and achievement of your goals.

“Eat That Frog!” is beneficial for anyone looking to overcome procrastination, improve time management skills, and increase productivity. This can happen in both personal and professional contexts. It is particularly relevant for individuals who struggle with prioritization, time management, or maintaining focus on important tasks amid distractions and competing demands. Use time-blocking or other time management techniques to schedule dedicated time for tackling your “frog” task each day, ensuring you have sufficient time and focus to make progress towards your goals.

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