Eating the Frog

My cousins and I used to visit a place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula called “Black Rocks”—cliffs beside the icy waters of Lake Superior. The thirty-foot drop was scary, so my cousins and I teetered at the edge for many minutes, summoning the courage to jump. But the longer we took, the harder it became to leap.

Even in the days before distracting and omnipotent devices, Mark Twain procrastinated writing in the morning. He’d play on the dark playground, neither working nor playing but wasting time in a terrible gray funk. The trick, which he eventually coined as a gross metaphor, was to “eat the frog.” 

Imagine a little frog that appears beside your alarm clock each morning. Your most important task of the day is to eat the frog, but you press snooze and try to ignore it. However, the longer you wait, the bigger and wartier the frog becomes and the harder it gets to swallow. At the end of the day, you’re stressed and overwhelmed by the towering monster ribbiting before you.

If only you’d eaten the frog in the morning when it was no bigger than a pill.

When you schedule a time to do something, don’t dawdle. Just eat the frog.