Don't Eat the Frog, Productivity tips from Tonya Dalton, Host of Productivity Paradox, learn the best ways to get your biggest tasks and goals completed.

Don’t Eat the Frog: Keys to Getting Started on Your Biggest Projects

Ever heard the phrase, “eat the frog?”

It’s a phrase that’s thrown out a lot in the productivity world. It’s one of those fun little sayings that seems like really good advice, but in my opinion, really isn’t. It’s a belief that you create momentum to your day by tackling the worst item on your to-do list first. That you begin by taking on the task that you dread the most, so that once that task is done, the rest of the day will be easier with the not-so-awful tasks. And you’ll start your day with a sense of accomplishment.


Why You Shouldn’t ‘Eat the Frog’


This idea looks great on paper because you don’t really want to have that dreaded task looming over you all day. It sounds nice to get it done right away, but it’s not that easy or effective. It actually makes you more likely to procrastinate that task, because you just can’t seem to get started on it.

For this theory of eating the frog to work, you must develop a routine of making yourself do something every single morning that you don’t really even want to do. And who wants to wake up every morning thinking like that?

Maybe you’ve had some experience with this, and if so, you know that it requires some serious discipline. And discipline isn’t really the key to getting things done. In reality, it’s simply overwhelming to start with that worst thing on our list first, especially with no warmup at all.


The Key to Getting Started and Keeping It Going


The key to getting ahead is getting started. Start by building momentum, and find velocity to really help push you through on these tasks that you really don’t want to do. Let’s be honest. We all have things on our to do list that aren’t really our favorites, right? There are certain things that we have to do, whether it’s for our jobs or at home, or whatever it is that we are not looking forward to. But if you have some velocity and some momentum building, it makes those tasks even easier.

Generally, we tend to think of things done in this flow: inspiration, motivation, and then desirable action. But we know that it’s easier to get more things done when you start somewhere. So creating momentum gives you a starting point.

So we can change our mindset of getting things done, to ‘action, inspiration, motivation, repeat.’

That action gets you started, and it boosts your inspiration, it boosts your momentum forward, and then you have more motivation. And then you just keep repeating that.


Tips for Building Momentum & Completing Goals


If you use these little tips for starting a task – not your biggest and most dreaded or complicated one – you’ll feel a lot more encouraged and motivated. This can work throughout the day or for however long the duration is of your overall project or goal.

  • Don’t tackle your biggest, most dreaded task on your list right off the bat. Instead, complete a task you WANT to get done so that you gain momentum.
  • Use the formula: action, inspiration, motivation, repeat.
  • Make your weekly master list at the beginning of the week, but create your daily to-do list as each day comes.
  • Figure out the smallest task you can accomplish to move you forward and then just do it. Use that as your springboard.
  • Celebrate your small wins: Reward yourself for doing well. Whether it’s with a piece of candy or fruit, a few minutes of leisure time watching videos or chatting to a friend, figure out how you want to reward yourself. Make sure the reward comes RIGHT AFTER you’ve completed a small task.


What’s Next?


If you want more details and examples, definitely listen to episode 030: Don’t Eat the Frog. I’m talking all about systems for season 3 of Productivity Paradox. I think it’s really important that we have systems in place so that we can actually work more efficiently WHILE saving time.

I encourage you to listen to these episode on iTunes as you’re driving to work, walking the dog or cooking dinner. I love getting feedback from my listeners and hearing what episodes have really helped them implement actionable strategies to living a more productive life!

So feel free to connect with me on social media or send us an email at!

Next week for episode 031 I’ll be discussing habits and routines. I think this is a really important one that ANYONE could benefit from! Happy Planning!

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Don't Eat the Frog. Learn why we should NOT start off our days by doing the biggest or most dreaded tasks first. Instead we need to eat the Elephant. Get tips for how to start working on your biggest projects or goals step by step from Productivity Paradox podcast host, Tonya Dalton


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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton