Do you eat the frog first or the last or you have decided not to eat it all…..

Mukul Kumar Das
5 min readFeb 26


How many times have you missed the deadline for doing something?

Your dentist appointment

Your tax filing

Or have you been thinking of joining the yoga class for the last six months…

Sounds similar?

This is partly me.

We all have to do many things to do in life within the deadline, yet we frequently fail.

We fail because the tasks seem boring and mundane at times and we have no great fun doing them!

So we procrastinate!

I will do it after some time!

And you heard Parkinson’s Law “ that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.”

So most of the time maybe we start but keep it unfinished, oh yeah I have one week left!

You need to submit a proposal, and you will start writing the initial pages but nowhere near completion till the previous day, then you get overwhelmed and ask yourself “Am I going to complete or falter?”

Maybe you complete it but had to compromise a couple of hours of sleep, or maybe with feeling I wish I would get some more time, could have done it better!

It’s not always true that we keep only the mundane boring work at bay; whenever we feel we are not fully ready, or we have to prepare extra and the task looks difficult then our first thought is that let’s get prepared first. We have time!

That’s a mind trap we all get into.

Then the frog lives long uneaten.

Brian Tracy in his popular book “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less” talks about how to avoid this procrastination.

Now if it is inevitable that you have to eat the frog, the question is that how do you eat it?

Here is what Mark Twain said “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.”

In our everyday life, we have to eat many frogs during the day.

How do you start?

Sometimes it may deceptively look simple!

First, identify your frog.

You should list your frogs.

People underestimate the power of a humble checklist. John Shepard Reed the former chairman and CEO of Citicorp had a habit of listing things regularly that is to be done and he spoke about how greatly it helped him.

When we list the frogs, they are no longer ugly, unseen things lying in our psychic space. It comes to the fore, we can stare at them, however ugly they could be!

Sounds strange, but it is true! Thinking of something unpleasant is actually more unpleasant than the thing itself. So, when we list them, we acknowledge them, and it sends a signal to our mind that we are getting ready to eat them!

Once you identify your frog, then the next step is to simply eat it!

You know that it is inevitable, you have to do it, so postponing is like dying a slow death, rather you may take a frontal attack and gain gradual victory. Once you start finishing eating little pieces your mind starts believing that eating them is not as difficult as it seemed.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his seminal book :Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” spoke that even in doing daily chores if we become more mindful and do it with focused attention, even if we may not like the task so much, the overall experience would still be better.

Sometimes the feeling of frustration about doing the work is actually worse than doing the work itself.

Whenever I have to do chores I do not want to think too much about it, I try to make it interesting either by combining something like listening to music when I am doing my dishes or else doing it with full attention so that I can finish it fast and get rid of it and do other interesting stuff.

After you identified the frog, eaten once you have a bring a habit of eating it every day so that you are no longer fear to eat it.

You also have to see what works best for you. While Mark Twain would have advised you to eat the bigger one first in the morning, I approach it a little differently.

On a particular day, if I have many frogs to eat, instead of getting psyched in the morning itself, I make a list and then take a customary deep breath and then pick the smaller one first. Then I keep striking them off my list. If there were ten frogs then smaller six or seven I can finish within a little time, and I feel great, relieved. I can trick my mind and say “ look you thought it very was very difficult but it is actually not.” Then I am emboldened to attack the bigger one and I have a lot of psychic energy left to do it. The problem with this approach is that sometimes you may spend a disproportionate amount of time eating the smaller ones and then you will be left with very little time and energy for the bigger ones. Your mental energy also may deplete to take on the bigger task.

So, some people want to finish the bigger one first, so that they are relieved that high-impact items and cleared off, then take it a little easy and finish the rest.

Whatever works best for you, you should adopt the same.

There is an alternative and interesting take is also available.

If you are procrastinating and keeping things to the last moment you may actually become hyper-focused upon nearing the deadline and supremely efficient and smartly do it within the deadline.

The problem with this approach is that people have a general tendency to overestimate their own capability, so it might boomerang.

However, I think the biggest issue is that many times we do not acknowledge that there is a frog to be eaten. We avoid them. We see the elephant in the room but deny talking about it. We are not comfortable talking about it because either we are not adept at handling the probable outcome of the situation or we think avoidance is the best option and time will take care of it.

Time does not take care of that on its own, because we have decided not to eat that frog, that ugly frog will be there in the corner of your mind room permanently and comfortably and bother you with its ugly croaking whenever it wants to.

You have to decide what to do!!.



Mukul Kumar Das

I help People to Grow in their Life & Career || I help Business to Grow