Eat a Live Frog First Thing in The Morning

Eat a Live Frog First Thing in The Morning

Productivity is something that always does not come easy for everyone. There are moments of procrastination and just the general wish to start work later on in the day (if there is a chance to do that).

Luckily, Mark Twain gives a very effective tip to help you be more productive. How do you ask? Well, from the title of the article, by eating a live frog in the morning, of course.

Alright, the ‘frog’ here is not literal (yikes), as you could have guessed. The quote means to do the most important task first thing in the morning. No matter how tedious or difficult it is, just get it done the first thing in the morning.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about what is meant by eating alive frog first thing in the morning.

Eat a Live Frog First Thing in The Morning

Productive people make use of the best possible way they can. It can be by either planning out the day or checking the tasks one by one. Mark Twain’s priceless productivity hack is to do the most important and/or difficult task first thing in the morning.

Or as he calls it, eat a live frog first thing in the morning. No one likes eating a live frog now, do they? Similar, as mentioned, the ‘live frog’ here is the most important task one has on the agenda.

Finishing that up, make sure the rest of your day will go smoothly and productively. You can have more headspace to think about other tasks more clearly.

Not having done that important task early on would just make you subconsciously think about the task over and over again, not being able to focus on any other tasks.

That is what essentially Mark Twain meant when he said the famous quote. However, there are some nuances to this. Not all seemingly live frogs are the best ‘live frogs’.

Creating a Routine

Tackling your most difficult is not going to be a matter of deciding it one day and boom, you have it sorted. It is not as easy as that. Being able to consistently do the most challenging tasks first thing the morning requires making it a habit.

The problem is good consistent habit is not easy to make. Especially if those new habits are replacing existing ones, it is all too easy to fall into the same unproductive routine. One that is familiar because you have been doing it for a long time.

Creating a habit of starting work on your most challenging task of the day first in the morning requires some strong disciplines and some tips and tricks on creating habits. Here are some tips you can do to create this new habit.

  • Commit on a timeframe

Start slowly by allowing yourself to only do it for a set period. You can fix a week or a month for yourself in which you will stick to doing this task, always the first thing in the morning.

This way, you do not burden yourself of thinking this is your new routine and that you will need to adjust your routine.

  • Try to Stick to It Daily

The definitions and one of the keys to a habit is consistency. Sticking to a habit is what makes it a habit in the first place. Whatever this new habit you want to create, make sure to do it every day consistently.

  • Make Changes To your Environment

Your environment can influence you, as well. When you are in the office and going to start work, get rid of any distractions that might cause you to deter from the path.

New habits are easy to be distracted from. Now that you are starting your workday with the most difficult task, it might not take a big distraction to divert your mind elsewhere. A small distraction, like checking social media or e-mails, might do.

  • Make a To-do Checklist

Writing down what you are going to do for the next day is a great way to stick to the routine. You will have a visual representation of how your day is going to look like.

Writing down also prepares your brain to tackle the tasks one-by-one. So, before bed, write down a schedule of what you want to achieve the next day. Of course, your most difficult task goes at the top this time.

  • Do not be disheartened be failing

If you have a minor setback and could not stick to the schedule or did not start with the ‘eating the live frog’, that is fine. Try not to beat yourself about it.

Allowing yourself to fail when building new habits and understanding you can pick yourself up and try again will take a lot of stress and burden off your shoulders.

So, let yourself fail if it comes to that. You can start where you left-right the next day.

Knowing the Right Frog to Eat

Here is the interesting part. The saying needs to be tweaked a bit. How about not only tackling the most difficult task in the morning you rather work on the most difficult and important thing first.

There can be multiple tasks that you deem to be challenging, but chances are not all of them are equally important. The task that will result in the most productive outcome should be the one targeted first.

For example, if you have an inbox of e-mails to check and a report to be done, both of which are difficult, the report undoubtedly has more of a productive outcome.

How to Eat the Frog

Sometimes a task can be too big. We have all been at those points where there is a huge and important task to be done. It feels like a challenge, and we would rather procrastinate rather than doing it. Some might say the frog is more of a toad.

Luckily there are some tips you can use to tackle a job like this

  • Divide the task into smaller parts

Dividing a task that is seemingly too large tackle will give you a sense of scale. By dividing it up, you will have an idea of where to start, and you can map out your progression.

  • Manage time – Long Sessions can be broken up into smaller ones

The divided tasks can now be put into small segments. Instead of making use of long sessions, you can work in continuous bursts of small ones. This will help you from getting fatigued and burnt out.

However, do make sure the smaller segments are enough to get a portion of a task done. Too small of a segment with multiple breaks in between will waste time even more.

  • Set Goals

Set goals for yourself when tackling the tasks. If the task is going to take you a couple of days, ideally, you would want to set goals for how much you want to achieve each day.

By setting realistic goals for yourself, you keep you motivated and have an idea of how much you should be getting done.

  • Keep at it

If everything is going to plan, do not stop. Keep that flow of energy and complete the task. Stopping a task when all the pieces are seemingly falling into place is a mind trick your brain plays with you. It makes you think there will be enough time to finish it later. There won’t.


Productivity can be improved and learned with better habits. Now that you know what is meant by eating a live frog first thing in the morning, hopefully, you can have more productive days.