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Eat the frog...

Originally posted February 3, 2018

Eat the frog…


I get asked quite often how I am able to complete so many tasks.  When I answer that I “eat a frog”, I get a few strange looks.


People often offer up quotes and advice to the people around them.  This guidance is normally something that has helped them in the past.  Sometimes we take the advice, sometimes we ignore it, and many times, we listen, consider the advice, then realize it doesn’t work as well for us as it did for the person offering it.  However, on some occasions, we listen, take the advice, and are surprised that this advice does work does for us.


In my case, I have three pieces of advice that I work by each day.  Two of these ideas were famous quotes or sayings and were shared with me by two different people that I have worked with.  Though the quotes were not theirs, the idea was shared with me by them because they said it was helpful to them in some way.  I won’t mention their names (because I haven’t asked their permission), but they will know who they are if they read this.  The third idea came from a time-management course I took.

eat a frog

First idea: Eat the frog. 

“[…] if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you”

~Mark Twain


Every morning when I get to work, I eat my proverbial frog.  That one thing that I really do not want to do.  I get it out of the way.  Now, I can move on to my other tasks.  Normally, I find another frog. 

how do you eat an elephant

Second idea: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Where this saying came from seems to be unsure, I have uncovered several theories.  Regardless, the meaning doesn’t change.


I look at my tasks and break them up into manageable pieces, instead of trying to force the whole “elephant” down in one bite.

touch it once

Third idea: Touch it once.

This principle is mentioned time and time again in just about every “improve your efficiency” article or book you will read.


This has to be the main thing that keeps me on track.  The idea is simple: I get an email, I answer the email.  Before I even look at another one, I take care of that one immediately.  A piece of paper crosses my desk, I deal with it right then and there.  I don’t put it aside for later – I take care of it.  Naturally, some items cannot be finished immediately, these items actually do get filed for later.  However, not because I don’t want to do it (see idea # 1), but because I need something for it to be complete.  This could be more information or collaboration from someone else.  For those items, I do my part right away and I mark it to be followed up on.  Twice a day, I follow up on items that are still in my “follow up” file.  Once in the morning and once in the afternoon each day until I receive what I need to complete the task.

time management

I keep this on my wall, above my computer in my office.  This is my daily reminder when I start feeling overwhelmed.  It has proven to be extremely effective as well as a great conversation starter for those that ask.


It may be different for you, or this may just be that piece of advice that you may consider and find effective.  This was just a note on how I personally, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Get ‘er Done”.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t procrastinate at some things (for instance, I really need to do laundry right now), but these three ideas are what I work by every day either at my job and outside on the homestead.  It’s the regular everyday house chores that prove to be my efficiency enemy.  With that being said, and thinking about it now… I will go eat my frog called “laundry”. 

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