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eat that frog

Eat one frog a day and it will keep procrastination away.

Eating Your Frog has been one of the most popular productivity tips among Asian Efficiency readers. Its premise is very simple. If there was just ONE thing you had to do today, just one, what would that be?

That’s your frog.

Eat it first thing in the morning and you’ll be guaranteed of a productive day. Everything else will be easy in comparison.

Everyone’s frog is different and will taste different but what we do know is, the uglier the frog, the more likely we have to do it (and the better we feel after eating it!)

Here are 21 examples of how you can eat a frog. Pick any of these, make it your frog and start eating it right away.

1. Start on that project you’ve been procrastinating on

Have you been putting off a project for the longest time and you’re feeling guilty about it? Today is the day to start on that project. Don’t come up with anymore excuses. Make this project your frog and get started.

2. Plan your week ahead

This is one of my favorite frogs on Sunday. Before I start the week, I’ll plan my week ahead with all the frogs I’ll be cooking and eating each day. I strongly recommend you do the same.

What frog will you be eating tomorrow? What about on Tuesday? And Wednesday?

3. Prepare your meals for a week in advance

Whether you like it or not, eating is a time consuming activity. After time tracking months of preparing meals, eating, and cleaning dishes the data showed us that we sometimes spend 4–5 hours a day on this.

You can save a lot of time and effort you when batch cook your meals. You can make it your Sunday morning frog to cook all your meals for the upcoming week. We’ve done it and we can tell you it’s a huge time saver during the week.

4. Clean your environment

When there is a lot of stuff around your house or office, it’s more challenging to focus and get things done. Ever noticed that? Cleaning might not be the most fun thing to do, but like with most frogs – the uglier it is, the more you have to do it.

After you’ve finished cleaning, you’ll feel a lot better and chances are you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more after that.

5. Tell your loved ones that you love them

We don’t do this enough anymore. We get so busy and caught up with what life is throwing our way that we often forget to tell our loves ones that we love them. Take the time today to do it and let him or her know how much you love them.

6. Write down a list of 3 simple things you want to accomplish today

candy frog

Are you clueless about all the things you need to do? Can’t start the day because you’re paralyzed with all the possible things you should be doing?

Take a deep breath.

Just write down a list of 3 simple things you need to do today. Just three. No matter how small they are or how easy they are to do.

In fact, the easier it is to do, the better. Sometimes you need to get back into a rhythm of finishing things and you can do that starting today.

7. Write in your journal

Journaling is a great way to plan your upcoming day and/or ending your day with a reflection of how things went and how you can do better tomorrow.

Instead of trying to keep everything in your head, journaling is also a therapeutic activity that will help you relax. We can’t relax enough, can we?

8. Express gratitude for what you have

Stop chasing happiness – it’s already in front of you. When you express gratitude for what you have, you’ll be happier and as a result more productive. Take out 10 minutes today and express gratitude for 3 things you have going on for you right now.

Bonus fried rice points if you write it down in your journal.

9. Exercise

Exercise is vital for optimal productivity. Why not do it first thing in the morning? As we always like to say: a healthy body is a productive body.

10. Meditate

The best way to start the day is with a focused mind. When your brain is racing thoughts at 100 miles per hour, it’s hard to focus and concentrate. Five minutes of meditation can make a world of difference to your productivity.

11. Get rid of clutter

Scientists have proven that clutter negatively affects your productivity. Working in a disorganized environment is no bueno so if your office or working space is a mess…make it your frog to get rid of all the excess stuff that’s laying around.

12. Empty your closet

Speaking of clutter, emptying your closet has been one of my personal favorite activities to do once a year. Donating of clothes you never wear is a good deed and it will also help you limit your decision fatigue. Why is this important? As President Obama wisely stated:

I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make.

Willpower is a finite resource, so use it wisely and you can start by getting rid of excess clothes.

13. Work on your Quadrant 2 tasks

You can prioritize your to-do list using the Covey Quadrants. Once you know which tasks are your highest priority, pick one that’s in Quadrant 2 and start on it right away.

14. Compliment your team members on the great work they are doing

Everyone likes to be appreciated and rewarded for their hard work. If you’re managing a team or you’re part of a team, let your superstar team members know how amazing they are and thank them for their hard work.

Don’t let it go by unappreciated – tell them today how great they are and how their efforts have been of impact.

15. Take time to reflect

baby frog

Sometimes the opposite of doing the most unpleasant thing can be your frog. Taking the time to reflect on your life, goals and career can be the most important thing you can do for yourself.

It might feel counter-intuitive to stand still and just think, but if you’re someone who is always “busy”, doing stuff, and go-getting, now might be a good time to stop.

Carve out time to take a step back and reflect on what you’re doing. Are you still happy with what you do? Can you do certain things better, faster, more effectively? Are you still climbing the right ladder?

16. Read for 25 minutes

Asian Efficient people read. A lot.

Are you reading on a regular basis? If not, set a timebox/pomodoro timer right now and go read a book.

17. Practice a new skill

If you’re someone who is trying to learn a new skill and you never have the time or energy for it after work, reverse the order of when you want to practice it.

Before you start your workday, wake up a little earlier and practice the craft you want to learn. Whether that’s learning a new language, creative writing, drawing or anything else you want to learn.

18. Do your weekly review

One of the most challenging habits among Asian Efficiency readers is to do the weekly review. It’s where you go over all your lists, projects and tasks and get it all organized. When done consistently, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. However, if you haven’t done it in a while and you’ve been procrastinating on it, chances are it’ll take more time than that.

Make it your frog to get this done. It’s one of the best things you can do to ensure you’re always working on the right thing and to have the peace of mind that everything around you is sorted.

19. Find a personal assistant

Sometimes no matter how Asian Efficient you are, there will be periods where there is simply too much to do that you can’t do it all by yourself.

That’s the perfect time to get an extra pair of hands to help you out. We highly recommend getting a (virtual) assistant that can help you offload some of the minor tasks. We’ve written an extensive guide on this to help you get started finding this person.

20. Set new goals for the week, month, year

Every now and then we need to re-evaluate our goals. Some don’t motivate us anymore, some are too vague and some have already been achieved. Setting aside time to really ponder about your goals is one of the most productive activities you can do.

Grab a piece of paper and start writing down what you want to achieve within the next week, month or year. Our catalog of goal setting and getting posts can help you with that.

21. Treat yourself

When you’ve gone through a really productive period, don’t forget to treat yourself to something nice as a reward. We often forget to take care of ourselves when we’re so busy getting things done that our motivation starts to dip.

To get it back up, take breaks and pamper yourself. This can be a day at the spa, taking your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse out for a nice dinner or a quick weekend trip somewhere exotic.

You’ve earned it!

Pick one

There you have it, 21 ways to eat a frog. Pick one that fits your situation and start on right now!

Do you have another favorite frog eating activity? Let us know in the comments below.

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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  1. I don’t have a lot of time (I’m too busy starting to eat my frogs!) though I wanted to thank you for this succinct collection of ways of “moving forward” (sorry in advance for the cliché) – with life! It’s so much easier to do my “work” (defined as the excuse I give for why I’m not eating my frogs) and ignore my croaking yearnings. And with that, I resolve not to make any resolutions. Darn it, I just did it again! ;) Happy New Year!

  2. Awesome article based on an absolutely awesome book. So far I’ve only successfully applied the eat your frog principles to my work/professional life and it has been incredible. I’m up early, my biggest tasks are done by noon, and I’m just getting shit done.

    I need to take some of these examples as well as reread the book to start applying the same principles to my personal life. Still need to tackle things like eating better, exercise routine, and other aspects of personal life.

    Awesome examples Thanh!

  3. Pretty good article Thanh with some great examples.

    I would also add to the list “clean out your inbox”. It falls right in place with tips #4 and #11. We spend so much time emailing back and forth that it is worth to take the necessary time to clean the inbox out. Even the “inbox zero” followers don’t have empty and fully organized emails all the time.

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