Should You Eat That Frog First?

June 26, 2022

It’s as cliché as productivity advice gets: eat that frog! Do your most important task first! Focus on deep work in the morning!

Maybe this always works for you. If it does, you can stop reading now. See you next week. If it does not, stick around.

Here’s my to-do list for today, in no particular order:

  • Write newsletter
  • Complete daily health routine
  • Withdraw cash
  • Change bedsheets
  • Restock personal care products
  • Get guest bed ready for guest arriving tomorrow
  • Fold clean laundry
  • Run another load of laundry
  • Finish programming lower body lifting days
  • Finish outline for Apple Notes course
  • Convert as many lessons as possible in Apple Notes course outline to real-world examples
  • Review sales pages of comparable courses for language to use in course marketing
  • Clean toilets
  • Clean sinks
  • Refill hand soap dispensers
  • Wipe mirrors
  • Vacuum
  • Clip nails
  • Water + mist plants

If you asked me what’s the frog, I’d say the tasks related to the new course. Sure, it’s also important to take care of the house, but as a matter of achieving my current goals, the course takes priority. So you might say that I should work on the course first, leaving household tasks for later, if there is time left.

Yet I know from experience that this does not work for me.

When I have lots of errands and chores piled up—I need a better word for “chores” since I don’t mind them—I prefer to take care of those first. Taking care of little tasks makes my environment feel neat, which makes it easier for me to focus on creative work. Conversely, if I walk around the house and I see dirty dishes, find empty hand soap dispensers, and can’t wear what I’d like to wear because I haven’t run the laundry in a while, that distracts me.

Taking care of smaller tasks needs to happen within reason, of course. Take it too far and you’ll never do the more important work. Here it helps that I actually—gasp!—enjoy my work. I don’t need to force myself to work on this new course. It’s exciting! I can’t wait to start recording (in a few days) and to share the course with you all.

As always, the point is not for you to copy my approach. It’s to ask yourself what works for you—and to avoid blindly following productivity advice.

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