Five Outstanding Results that will Compel You to Eat the Frog


by Lisa Illman

Mark Twain’s famous saying of eating a live frog every morning to get your most dreaded task out of the way has become an important step in my life. What exactly is a live frog? According to Twain, it is that one important item you should do that you might put off because you’d rather not do it. Examples of my frogs have been exercising, calling an unhappy client, organizing my desk, making a doctor’s appointment and even taking time to meditate. It is that one “to do” on my list that must get done today or tomorrow will feel much heavier.   Over time, the payoffs of frog eating have given way to a normal routine of tackling dreaded tasks first. Here are the big picture rewards that continue to compel me to prioritize my day with toughest task first


Eliminate Procrastination

Probably the most obvious reward to taking one of the hardest tasks first is the elimination of procrastination. Defined in the dictionary as postponing or delaying an activity, procrastination can result in a number of poor consequences. There is the heavy feeling of something looming overhead when an activity is delayed, but other adverse results can also add up. If your frog is paying bills, the late fees that start to accumulate with late bill paying makes eating that frog a definite plus! If getting to the gym is your frog, then the lack of exercise of not doing this important step is the negative result. Procrastination is a heavy burden, eating frogs can quickly eliminate this pesky foe!


Reduce Anxiety

As frogs start to build on your to do list, so does the anxious tension that accumulates in your life. Fear and worry are like a Cancer; they multiply and feed each other. Taking whatever important step towards a day free from anxiety is not only good for you, but also for the people around you. Frog eating is one activity that can literally transform anxiety into serenity.


Generate Rewards

When frogs are big and juicy, squirmy and especially tough to choke down; I make it a point to have a big reward waiting. Rewarding frog eating is a great motivator for anyone who hasn’t been eating her frogs for sometime.   In the past, when procrastination has gotten the best of me, I took the time to make a list. I wrote out two columns, one column titled FROG the other REWARD. For each task, I assigned an award; the harder the task, the bigger the reward. Rewards do not have to be big expensive items that might hurt your wallet. They can be anything from afternoon naps to café mochas in the park after lunch. Perhaps an extended lunch with a friend or if the wallet does allow, a new scarf or an hour massage. You get the idea; make it special, nurturing and something that you do not get to do everyday. Have fun with your frogs and gifts!


Clear the Mind

Stop the monkey chatter going on in your head! Plain and simple. When foreboding chores begin to lessen, the burden that is lifted is huge. The bigger the frog, the greater the relief and with relief comes a clear head. Peace of mind is priceless; with one big gulp, worry and fear can be wiped out.


Promote Good Healthy Living

The listed benefits of getting busy with your most dreaded tasks add up to one big bonus; a healthier lifestyle. By eliminating procrastination from your life, reducing stress, clearing your mind and creating a rewarding schedule, good living will naturally follow.

Eating the frog has become the most productive approach to my day. If I ever get off track and stray from this simple concept, I immediately put together a list of things that need to get done. One day at a time, each frog is crossed off my list and the heavy burden of delay is released.   Most evenings before I go to bed, I ask myself “what is the one thing I need to do tomorrow if I do nothing else?” -that is usually my frog.




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2 Replies to “Five Outstanding Results that will Compel You to Eat the Frog”

  1. Fresh Rod

    May I add one more results in the list, and an important one: peace of sleep !
    As a ‘bad sleeper’ myself, I spent years trying to understand what was the cause of it, and beside my bad habits it was also the lack of goals and organization that was keeping my mind busy all night.
    When you learn to eat the frog, you’ll experience peace of mind like never before, knowing that everything is under control and that you just have to follow your plan to get things done.
    Trust me, it’s a life changer.
    And if you’re looking for a free online tool to manage your tasks and “frogs”, may I suggest one we created at Zenkit, along with an article on “frog eating”, we would love your feedbacks.

  2. Judy Yaron PhD

    Just for me, Lisa – I have a passion for frogs (used to have a collection … each had a name and first thing in the morning I gave each a juicy kiss hoping one would turn into a prince … my reward 🙂 ) and I love Mark Twain – so the combination works for me!

    Love the idea of giving yourself a reward. Will try that one. I so relate to putting off the frogs – but force myself to eat at least one a day.

    What I try to do to start the day right, is to do something that directly relates to bringing in money – like working on my courses.

    THANKS for an awesome post 🙂
    HUGS <3

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