Been avoiding a big task? Eat that frog!

With tax time upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot lately on how the big tasks are often the ones we avoid. And the more we avoid them, the more energy they get … and the more they eat away at us.

Is there something you’ve been procrastinating so much that you get surges of guilt through your body just thinking about it?

Tax aside, most people have several large tasks on their plate at any one time, be it in work, study or life in general. These types of tasks – the big ones – are often critical to moving us forward. It could be writing a book, e-book, paper, research project, or anything which is super important to us.

So …

  • If it’s not that important, it should probably be cut from your to-do list and your list of things to feel guilty about!
  • If it is important to you, here’s a great way to stop it eating away at you (and be the one doing the eating!):


Mark Twain once said “If the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that’s probably the worst thing that’s going to happen to you all day long.”

Your big task is your “frog”.

It’s the energy-sapping, guilt-injecting task you would love to get done but just can’t seem to do it.

Brian Tracy, Author, Speaker and Success Expert coined the term in his book “Eat that Frog!”.

He explains the concept as:

It’s the biggest, ugliest task. It’s the one thing that has the most serious consequences. It’s the one task that makes all the difference in your life. If you do everything else but NOT this task, then to that degree you’re going to underachieve and underperform.

If you have to eat a frog at all, which we all have to do, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for too long. In other words, just do it. Get on with it. Make it the first thing that you do”.

His advice when you have more than one frog?

Eat the ugliest one first.

“… do the worst first. And then once you’ve done your most important task, you’ll find that the whole day will flow much better.”

One of the main keys to success, and life, as Brian Tracy describes is to work on your frog!

He also talks about backing your frog with the principle of single-handling.

“Single-handling means that once you start on your most important task, you stay with that task until it is complete. You discipline yourself to work and work continually on that task. If you get diverted for any reason, get back to the task as fast as you can.

Remember that by working single-mindedly on a single task and doing it 100%, you can actually save as much as 80% of the time required to complete that task.

It’s the most astonishing discovery. People actually increase the amount of time necessary to do a task by five times by starting and stopping and coming back and finding out where they were and starting again, and then stopping, coming back, and going back over the task to find out where they were and starting again.”


You can expand the amount of time you’re spending on a task by five times or you can reduce it by 80%, simply by single-handling. Single-handling; 100% concentration on your major task is the great key to success in life.

Brian Tracy is one of the classic success and productivity experts. I’m not affiliated in any way with his company, he’s just an old favourite – a comforting source to turn to when productivity or kicking goals is taking a back seat to the daily grind. His website is packed with great resources or download the ‘Eat that Frog’ PDF here.

Now get back to eating that frog!



Editor’s note: No frogs were harmed in the making of this blog post 😉


Sally Miles is the Founder of Upswing, a business designed to help working parents be productive. Upswing is operating in community spaces offering sessions of 3 hours at a dedicated work space while your child is minded by qualified staff in the same building.