“Eat the Frog” is a popular method for checking off the most important tasks on your to-do list. But how effective is it?
In this article, we will help you understand Eat the Frog and anticipate challenges that may arise while implementing it. Then we will show you how to use Produce8’s digital work analytics to make data-driven decisions and improve the process.
Ready? Then click here to make the most of "Eat the Frog" 👉 How effective is the "Eat the Frog" method?
What is Eat the Frog?
“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.” - Mark Twain
The Eat the Frog method is a personal productivity hack that will help you prioritize your work. Brian Tracy popularized the method in his book, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.
The concept is simple: tackle your most challenging and important task—the "frog"—early in the workday. Then everything else will fall into place.
The Eat the Frog method is useful because it prompts you to prioritize your biggest and most important tasks first. Because these tasks are often challenging or complex, they are the ones you're inclined to procrastinate on, which only makes completing your goal harder as the day goes on. Practicing Eat the Frog can enhance your ability to focus on these tasks with greater impact.
How to Eat the Frog
Here’s how you can perform the Eat the Frog technique in a few simple steps:
- Identify your "frog"
To begin, check your to-do list. Is there a task that feels tough or that you’ve been putting off? That is your “frog!”
- Break it down into smaller steps if needed
If your frog requires more than half a day of work, break it up into smaller, more manageable steps. Each step becomes a new frog to eat.
- Establish a routine of tackling your "frog" first thing every morning
Make a habit of focusing on your main task early in the day. This starts your day on a positive note and ensures you handle important tasks promptly.
How effective is Eat the Frog?
To measure whether Eat the Frog is working for you, timely feedback is essential. Real-time data and daily reports provide a clearer understanding of areas that need improvement.
In a perfect world, performing the Eat the Frog technique would work 100% of the time. Unfortunately, in the real world, we face internal and external obstacles that can throw our workday into chaos. Some common challenges of the Eat the Frog technique include:
- Not having control of the day: When you don’t have a structured schedule, distractions can get in the way. And if managers or colleagues constantly dictate your workday, practicing Eat the Frog becomes challenging. To combat this, time block your day.
- Balancing important vs. urgent tasks: We don't exist on an island. Sometimes we have to assist others with their tasks. Focusing solely on important tasks (your frogs) might lead to neglecting urgent ones.
- Struggling with personal discipline: "Eating the Frog" requires you to perform unpleasant tasks that may not excite or motivate you. So, you may deviate and work on something else and then not return to the initial task until much later.
- Managing distractions: Interruptions caused by notifications, updates, and invitations can make it difficult to concentrate on your frog.
Recognizing these challenges will allow you to build awareness around your work habits and make changes to take back control.
Produce8 offers real-time insights to evaluate the effectiveness of productivity techniques like Eat the Frog. Let me show you how to analyze whether the technique is working or not.
Use Produce8 to determine if Eat the Frog works for you
Forming a habit takes time. And you want to ensure your efforts are not going to waste.
Produce8 shows you how you interact with various work tools. This helps you find the right fit of productivity methods and allows you to reinforce your work habits. For instance, Produce8 shows:
Batch App Metrics: View the Timeline to see whether you are effectively prioritizing your most important tasks.
In the filter, select all the apps you use for a specific task. This way you can analyze how the day looks with the tools grouped. If you are planning to get your work done in the morning, you should see a consolidation of interactions with that planning app. However, if you are consumed by excessive collaboration early in the day, you might see something like this:
App Usage Metrics: You will find all your work apps in the Metrics tab. Click on Trends to assess your individual app usage over days, weeks, or even months. You will also see the average intensity of your workday in the Heatmap .
Top App Reports: You will find your Top Five Apps on the User Home Page. This will give you a quick view into whether you are spending quality time in the day with the tools you want to be using.
Focus Score: You’ll also find your Daily Insights on the User Home Page. You can click on each Score to dive deeper into the metric. Note your Focus Score on days when you used the Eat the Frog technique. You may notice that on those days, your Focus Score was higher.
Set up Produce8
Setting up Produce8 is easy! To start, just connect the tools you use for work and download the Browser and Desktop Extensions. This will enable Produce8 to stream your activities within those apps and provide data in your Workspace.
Get your baseline data
Before you can see if the Eat the Frog technique makes a difference, start by collecting what we call your “baseline .” All you have to do is go about your usual work routine for a few days with Produce8 turned on.
During this time, Produce8 will work in the background. Feel free to pop in at the end of each day or get the Produce8 mobile app to see what your workday looked like.
How often did you switch between tasks? Use collaboration tools? Stay focused during work hours? Did any of it surprise you? Make note of these observations for later reference.
Schedule time to Eat the Frog
Now that you have your baseline data and a good understanding of your current work habits, let’s see if implementing the Eat the Frog technique improves your workday.
Remember, Eat the Frog is a habit-based technique. That means it should be something you are using as consistently as possible in the morning. Aim to work with it for one work week and then build from there.
Make it easier by scheduling time directly into your calendar. This way you are setting expectations and letting your team know that you will be committing to a change in your routine.
By pairing the Eat the Frog technique with time blocking, you can better allocate time in the day. That way you can have a game plan right from the start.
Analyzing your Eat the Frog performance
After a week of working with the Eat the Frog technique, you can assess the data.
Aspects you’ll want to review include:
- Are you making a habit of eating your “frogs” early in the day?
- Do you know if you’re maintaining focus during those periods?
- Have you identified the distractions that are keeping you from getting the job done?
Answering these questions will allow you to set goals that help you achieve a better workday. Let’s break it down.
1. Is it a daily habit?
If you regularly engage with productive apps at a specific time, Produce8 can visualize this pattern.
Simply click on the work tools you use while Eating the Frog in the Produce8 app. There, you can view your App Trends and identify how frequently you interact with specific apps.
Below, the Heatmap illustrates the times of the day you use the app the most. This provides a clear understanding of whether you're consistently Eating the Frog every morning as intended.
2. What is stopping you?
Can’t get the Eat the Frog technique to stick? Then figure out why. Are you moving away from important tasks too often? Or context switching too much? Whatever the case, you can identify what is dragging you down by looking at your Timeline.
3. How long have you been working?
Next, let's assess how much time you spend using specific tools for Eating the Frog. This helps you see how your day is divided.
Compare your time in the apps you use to Eat the Frog against other tools in your tech stack. How do you feel about how your day is broken up? Do you want to spend more time in your productive apps? Well, to do that, you need to extend your time Eating the Frog!
4. What does a great day look like?
Setting goals ensures you hold yourself accountable. It will help you complete crucial tasks and establish a better morning routine.
If your goal is to Eat the Frog daily, add an “App Views” or “Time in App” Goal in your App Usage on Produce8. This simple step can help boost your motivation.
Your next steps in building great work habits
Examining your day through the lens of a data-driven approach can enable you to explore different productivity approaches. And you can tailor these approaches to your goals to improve your performance and overall well-being.