Goal Setting, Time Management

Do the Yucky Things First

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Procrastination plagues us all at various times in our lives, and for some folks it can be a real struggle. We forget to do the yucky things first.

Learn to Eat that Frog and do the Yucky Things First

A few years ago, I read an exceptional book by Brian Tracy . It completely changed the way I tackle my daily To Do List, how I set my priorities, and how I avoid the pitfall of procrastination.  (Yes, it happens to the best of us.) The book was called Eat that Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.  The title came about because of a quote from Mark Twain. He once said, “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.”

The point of Tracy’s book and Twain’s quote was that if you start your day by tackling your most difficult, or most yucky tasks first, no matter what comes at you throughout the rest of the day, you will have still accomplished a lot.  Don’t procrastinate.  Do the yucky things first.

Eat the Frog by Brian Tracy teaches you to do the yucky things first

We forget to Eat the Frog

All of us are busy people. We may be parents, who juggle home life and work life, and who try to squeeze in a social life.  We are employees who try to make a living, excel in our jobs, and set an example for our children.  And we are exhausted at the end of the day from trying to do ALL. THE. THINGS. 

It is easy for us to get sucked into our day-to-day routines. It is even easier to put off doing things that we don’t want to do.  We spend our lives rushing from one thing to another. Putting out this fire or that fire. Or even escaping our lives in the time-wasting vortex of social media, virtual reality, and television.  It all seems so important and urgent at the time. But before we know it, we have spent an entire day reacting to other people’s wants, needs, and drama rather than proactively working towards our personal goals.  We forget to eat the frog. 

It might sound a little dramatic, but my life changed when I changed the order in which I did things. 

How I do the Yucky Things First

First, I stopped checking my emails and Facebook notifications first thing in the morning.  Instead of drowning in advertisements and what other people perceive as my priorities, I only check them only twice per day. Once, after I get home from the gym in the morning and after dinner in the evening.  The same is true for my Facebook messages.  Now, I focus the first few hours of the morning on my long-term or priority projects and my goals.  I eat the frog, even when I don’t want to.  When I changed how I did things, my productivity went up exponentially. I was able to accomplish more of the things I wanted to do because I did the yucky things first.

Mark Twain quote "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day" - do the yucky things first

Plan Today for Tomorrow

Second, I plan for tomorrow today.  I know what I am doing from the moment I get up.  Each evening, before I go to bed, I take just a few moments. I plan my schedule and my priorities for the next day.  Anything that did not get accomplished today, gets moved to tomorrow.  I determine my priorities for the coming day.  Then I schedule those priorities on my calendar first, working other tasks around my priorities in the time that is available.

Planner Page

If you want to jump start your productivity and stop procrastinating, take a moment TODAY. Decide which important tasks you will do first thing in the morning before anything else, and which less important tasks you can put off until later in the day.  Make it a goal to set aside a certain amount of time to focus each day on your long-term goals.  When you put first things first, you ensure that those priority tasks are accomplished. Lesser important tasks can be pushed aside on the days when life gets in the way.

Here’s to eating the frog, doing the yucky things first and RESETTING your life!


Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – CHRISTINA SCALISE

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Do the Big Things First