Managing Our Time By Eating That Frog!

manage your time by eating that frog

This isn’t as bad as it sounds, although it may look that way if you don’t know about Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”, a classic book on managing our time.

Eat That Frog


Managing our time is one of our greatest challenges whether at work or outside of work. How do we find the time to do the things that are important to us? Why do we feel so often that we spend our days doing things that really do not make a difference to our lives?

Stop and think for a minute because if you are like many people the main reason you spend your time on trivialities is because you procrastinate about doing the things of value that really make a difference. Why would you do that? Why would you not do what is in your own best interests to do? Because they are usually the hardest things to do. They demand much of you. They require self-discipline. They call on you to dig deep and to get out of your comfort zone. So instead of doing them you procrastinate. You put them off. Have you noticed how very stressful procrastinating is?

But what’s this all got to do with eating frogs?

Brian Tracy actually stole that phrase “eat that frog” from Mark Twain who suggested that if we ate a live frog first thing every morning, we could go through the day knowing that nothing worse would happen. You can manage your time better by eating that frog first thing every morning.

Here’s what you do.

  • Every day, select the most difficult task you have to do that day.
  • Set aside 45-90 minutes first thing in the day to work on it.
  • You close your door and get the receptionist to hold your calls. You tell your colleagues what you are doing and when you will be free again so they won’t interrupt. You start eating your frog!

It may be a project that you’ve been procrastinating about for some time.
It may be something you are not interested in but have to do anyway.
It may be work that is really going to be very time-consuming so you’ve put off starting it.
It may be a report that is going to stretch you to the limit.

You may not get it finished in the time you have allocated but you will have half eaten the frog and have discovered it wasn’t as bad as you thought.
If you spend the rest of the day doing what appears to be unimportant, you will have the satisfaction that you achieved something significant first thing in the day. In fact, people find eating their frog a very motivating experience that actually enhances the rest of their day.

Brian Tracy has two more bits of wisdom about eating frogs and managing our time.

  1. If you have to eat two live frogs, eat the ugliest first.
  2. If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for too long.

Have you noticed that some things actually turn into live frogs because you do look at them for too long?

So follow Richard Branson and JUST DO IT!

If you want more time management suggestions, check out my free Time Management Online Course on my website.

© Maree Harris, Ph.D.

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