Mark Twain famously said, “if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you.”
Your frog is your worst task. And that’s the first thing you should do in the morning.
By “worst,” I mean “most important,” and by “most important” I mean the task that is most likely going to give you a headache. Do it, before you do anything else, before you have time to think about it too much.
I could as well end this article here, but I’d give you three reasons why should adopt this strategy:
1. It works
We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. No! Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
Willpower tends to be higher earlier in the day. That means you’ll be able to provide your best energy and effort to your most important task. If you do the most important thing first each day, then you’ll always get something important done and set the tone for the rest of your day.
2. It gives you a sense of accomplishment
There’s this sweet feeling of getting a heavy load lifted off one’s shoulder that we all like. This is how you feel when that very tough task is deleted from your to-do list.
Small wins actually have the ability to give you more willpower. Studies have shown that when we accomplish a small win, our pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls willpower) will begin firing neurons. When it does this, it increases our focus, perseverance and ability to resist temptation. This essentially gives us “free” willpower to use on other tasks throughout the day.
3. It frees you up to do the work you enjoy
The phrase “Do the most important thing first each day” is just a simple way of saying, “give yourself a time and space to work on what is important to you each day.”
By eating your frog first thing in the morning, you get to spend the rest of the day doing the work that you actually enjoy doing. The type of work that made you choose your career in the first place. By making this a habit, you will find much more satisfaction and happiness in your daily work.
Eating frogs is an acquired taste. Discipline yourself to do it every morning and soon it will be a habit that will really maximize your productivity and sense of accomplishment for each and every day.
Tell us, do you do your hardest tasks first each day? Has it increased your productivity? Let’s talk in the comments.
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