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How To Eat Your Frogs

“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

Imagine waking up and knowing that somewhere on your to-do list reads, “eat a frog.”

Would you eat it first thing in the morning to get it over with, or would you push it back on your list of “must-dos” and stress about it all day?

Now, switch out the word “frog” with your most daunting daily task and ask yourself the same question. 

Would you do it first thing in the morning, or would you procrastinate?

By giving us the imagery of eating a frog and comparing it to a most intimidating task, Twain is proving to us that it is always best to just get it over with. 

By doing this first thing in the morning, we can go the rest of our day knowing the worst is behind us.

Conversely, by putting off our most challenging tasks, we are only hurting ourselves.

If you’re someone prone to procrastination, here are a few tips to help you eat your frogs.

Find Out What is Driving Your Habit of Procrastination.

Psychology Today states that lack of structure, boring or uninteresting tasks, timing, fear of failure, and weak self-confidence are all common reasons why we procrastinate.

Once you understand what your drivers are, you can then take specific steps to address them.

Make a To-Do List, Then Analyze 

After writing down everything you would like to get done, analyze your list. What are the main tasks you are wanting to do? If you have a task that you know will be long and tedious, break it up into smaller steps. Instead of writing down, “do my project”, make multiple bullet points that break that task up, such as, “Come up with project idea,” “do research,” “build project outline.” etc.

Set a Work Schedule

As an online student and musician, my day to day schedule is always different. 

I’ve learned that by knowing my deadlines and creating a daily plan to meet them, my brain stays focused. Recently, I started setting a timer for 30 minutes to see if it helped me change the way I thought about goals and deadlines in my own life.  Even with basic tasks, when 30 minutes are over, I give myself a 5-10 minute break. This gives me time to clear my head, recharge, reflect, and get right back at it! Try this yourself!  

Tame Your Perfectionism

We all procrastinate. No one is perfect. We have good days and bad days. 

If you do have a bad day meeting your goals, always try to see it as a learning experience. The next time you are in a “procrastination pit,” you’ll remember what happened the last time and especially what you don’t want to happen again! 

Always remember your mistakes are what help you grow.

So to find out what it is that is making you procrastinate (and how to overcome it), try these simple steps:  make your detailed to-do list, create a work schedule, and most of all, always remember that no one is perfect! 

Imagine how you’ll feel when it’s done - proud of yourself, free as a bird, and anxiety-free. 

Channel those feelings to give yourself the motivation to eat your frogs!


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