Why You Should Do The Hardest Thing First

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

A “Frog” is that thing that ugly, disgusting, thing on your to-do list that you want to put off until later more than anything else. It’s something that needs to get done, but you have absolutely zero motivation to do it.

If you have 10 things that need to be done, and you put off the one thing you dislike, it still needs doing eventually. Yet while you do the other nine tasks, the single unpleasant one weighs on your mind, drains your enthusiasm, zaps your motivation, saps your energy, and generally makes you miserable.

Contrarily, if you do the tough things first, if you eat your ugly frog for breakfast, the other tasks fly by. You are liberated from delay, freed from anxiety, and joyful in all other pursuits.

6 Reasons why you need to eat ugly frog first thing in the morning.

1. It creates momentum

OK you know how amazing it feels when you tick off a task on your to-do list, right? So y’all know that it feels EVEN BETTER when that task is the hardest task you have. It’s such a relief! And the rest of the day feels like a breeze once it’s out of the way. Plus you’re not spending the day in dread, so it’s easier to be in a better mood and so much more productive. Doing the hardest task first will create momentum in your day – and that can be the difference between one that’s good and one that’s not.

2. Develop A Positive Addiction

You can actually develop a “positive addiction” to endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence, and competence that they trigger.

When you develop this addiction, you will, at an unconscious level, begin to organize your life in such a way that you are continually starting and completing ever more important tasks and projects. You will actually become addicted, in a very positive sense, to success and contribution.

Setting short and long-term SMART goals will help you experience this “hooked” feeling as the satisfaction of accomplishing each task triggers the brain’s reward and pleasure system.

3. It is a Small Win

Getting the ugly thing off of your to-do list feels great. It gives you a sense of accomplishment as you cross that ugly, dreadful thing off of your to-do list and mark a tally in the small win column.

Small wins actually have the ability to give you more willpower. Studies have shown that when we accomplish a small win, our pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain that we use for willpower) will begin firing neurons. When it does this, it increases our focus, perseverance and ability to resist temptation. This essentially gives us “free” willpower to use on other tasks throughout the day.

4. It frees you up to do work that you enjoy

Doing productive work is one of the keys to happiness. When we talk about hating our jobs, what we’re really talking about are the frogs! We’re talking about those things that we have no motivation to get done. We’re not talking about purposeful activities that help us become better at our craft. Those are the activities that actually motivate us to do great work!

By eating your frog first thing in the morning, you get to spend the rest of the day doing the work that you actually enjoy doing. The type of work that made you choose your career in the first place. By making this a habit, you will find much more satisfaction and happiness in your daily work.

5. If You Have To Eat A Live Frog At All, It Doesn’t Pay To Sit And Look At It For Very Long

The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.

This habit is well-adopted by among successful people, it is an essential leadership quality for any one who intends to accomplish great things.

6. No Shortcuts

Practice is the key to mastering any skill. Fortunately, your mind is like a muscle. It grows stronger and more capable with use. With practice, you can learn any behavior or develop any habit that you consider either desirable or necessary.

What is your “frog?” What is the one task that you despise doing each day? Once you have chosen your “frog” make it a habit to wake up every morning and do that task first.