Productivity Tip: Do your most important work first.

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by Tom Watson on October 9, 2016

Mark Twain once said… “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing it is probably the worst thing that you’ll have to face all day.”

What I think he really meant by that is this… if you take care of your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning you spend the rest of the day enjoying yourself.

This is an important topic because one of the biggest issues new business owners face is making use of their time effectively. The goal many productivity experts say is the best course of action is to get the things we all dread having to do out of the way so that we can focus our attention on the areas we excel at and most enjoy.

The problem is that we don’t want to do the dreaded tasks in the first place. But the act of avoiding them only seems to drain our energy for getting the things we do enjoy done. It’s kind of like when you were a kid sitting at the dinner table and mom put those veggies on the plate.

You worked your way around those veggies until you got yelled at, then you ate them. This new line of thought means you must eat the veggies first, so you enjoy the rest of the meal. It’s really just a simple tweak of how you look at things.

I can’t sit here and say that I’m the best at this particular way of doing things, but I do try very hard every day. Today was one of those days where the frogs got eaten as soon as I got up. I had a few, but now they are done and I can move on with the rest of the day.

If you are interested in adopting to this new way of doing things then this little tip may help you. Go to Home Depot and visit the garden center. There you’ll find those little frog ornaments you see sitting on peoples front lawns. Buy one and put it on your desk.

This way you’ll see it every single day. It will be the reminder you need to see in the morning when you are ready to go to work to get that one dreaded task out of the way first thing in the morning. It may sound silly, but it beats the alternative.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacki October 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm

This is so true! I always start cleaning rentals with the worst room (usually bathroom or kitchen) so once it is done the rest of house will be a breeze!

2 Tom Watson October 9, 2016 at 1:37 pm

THANKS for sharing that Jacki!

3 Suraj Shepherd October 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Hi Tom,
You are Absolutely right on this. Frog first deserts later! We do the same Tom. We always get a head start of the bathroom, Kitchen and Oven then the rest goes with icing to finish it off!

4 Tom Watson October 9, 2016 at 5:01 pm


5 Cynthia Thomas October 12, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Good evening, Tom I had a question about schedules on cleaning a home. For example do you suggest starting with bathrooms, then work your way to bedrooms then kitchen and living rooms, then finally floors? If you did houses how did you find your flow??
Cyndi Thomas

6 Tom Watson October 16, 2016 at 9:08 am

Hi Cynthia! The general rule for us was work TOP TO BOTTOM. So we started upstairs and worked our way out the door. We also actually started top to bottom by high dusting first then working our way down to cleaning the floors. As far as “flow”, everyone had a responsibility (Like a Nascar put crew), one did bathrooms, one did bedrooms and halls, you get the idea. That’s what worked for us.

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