My Perspective on Frogs

There is a (misattributed) Mark Twain quote that is used in productivity circles that goes like this:

If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.

I first saw this quote connected to productivity in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek but the concept is so popular that there is an entire book dedicated to it Eat That Frog.

The gist of the idea is that you should start every day by doing your biggest/scariest/least fun task first. If you tackle your worst task at the start of the day, your willpower and mental acuity will be at their respective peaks (so you increase your chance for success) and the dread of avoidance will not loom over you all day. In a perfect world, this victory will give you the momentum to take care or more items on your to-do list. However, even if the rest of the day falls apart, you still have that big win on the scoreboard and the day is not a total loss.

The most prolific times of my career were when I was regularly spending my mornings eating frogs. Recently I realized that I have been avoiding frogs. I wanted to fix that, so I played around with OmniFocus and made a custom perspective called “Frogs”. What this perspective does is show me only the tasks that are available to me right now which require High Energy and whose completion will have a High Impact. The perspective settings looks like this:

My “Frogs” Perspective in OmniFocus

My goal every morning when I get to school it to knock out just one Frog task a day before I get started with my normal teaching duties. Sometimes things come up and a Frog gets to live for another day, but I have been doing this for a week and I feel like I am firing on all cylinders for the first time in a while.

I would highly encourage you to find a way to incorporate eating Frogs into your morning!

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