July 6, 2018

How To Start A Productive Day: Should The Worst Go First?

Getting to work and being welcomed by a huge list of things to do can be overwhelming. How to know where to start and not panic?

Start the day with the right foot and you’ll be diving into a productive day. The advice on how to do it varies – most of it involves… frogs. 🐸

Ever heard the quote “Eat the frog”?

As the old saying goes, “Well begun is half done”.  The first thing we do in the morning is most likely to impact how we carry ourselves for the rest of the day.

Productivity expert and author Brian Tracy published a book called Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

The expression comes from a famous Mark Twain quote:

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

What does “Eat the frog ” mean in terms of productivity? According to Tracy:

A frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

To achieve a productive day, you should tackle the biggest, most important task first things first in the morning. This way, you get a big boulder out of the way, and you get a big motivation boost from the accomplishment. You can bring the momentum with you for the rest of the day, and even for the rest of the week!

After all, completing tasks releases of dopamine, the hormone of happiness, in the brain. Completing tasks feels good, literally!

Do it immediately in the morning, when your mind is more fresh and alert. After that, everything else should be smooth sailing.

Identifying the frog is quite easy: in the scale of priorities, it’s the one that you don’t really want to do, but that you must do. In case there are two frogs on your to-do list, Tracy’s suggestion is to start with the ugliest one.

“What if it doesn’t work for me?”

Despite our best efforts, there’s no denying that starting with the worst task isn’t easy. After all, who wants to begin an already difficult day with a slap in the face?

In addition, if the big task takes too much time or isn’t actually finished, it can ruin the rest of the schedule for the day of the week. In this case, just a little procrastination could help (but don’t tell anyone we said that).

That doesn’t mean you can slack around on social media instead of taking care of that project that’s screaming for your attention.

What you need is active procrastination: maybe not exactly what you’re supposed to, but something that still moves your work forward.


“So what can I begin the day with?

You can hop to these two alternative ways to start your day:

Get rid of the 2-minute tasks

If you have super quick tasks on your list that you can finish in less than 2 minutes, go ahead and start with those. It’s an effective, hassle-free way of checking to-dos from your list.

Batch the similar tasks together to get them done more quickly. Not only will you lighten the load for the day, but it will also put you in a positive state of accomplishment. You’ll find the motivation to get the big stuff out of the way (because you didn’t forget about it, right?).

Start with creative work

Why not starting with a creative task right away? Creative activities can activate parts of the brain that you don’t normally use. Even something as basic as doodling on a piece of paper is among the unexpected things that boost productivity!

If you do something creative first, like a brainstorming session, you can give your brain that boost to tackle the dreaded frog (yep, it’s still there waiting for you).


The first things you do in the morning are likely to affect the rest of the day. Most productivity experts recommend tackling the big, scary tasks first things first.

Productivity is a personal achievement. This is why a cookie-cutter solution doesn’t necessarily work for everybody. It’s up to each of us to find what works best and put it into place in our productivity routine.

Don’t forget, though, that pushing things off forever is not a solution and could backfire pretty badly. Eventually, you’ll have to tackle the big boulder instead of the small rocks.

Most importantly, try to understand the reason why a task scares you so much.

Is it lack of resources? Is it lack of time? Are you not prepared enough? Be honest about your work, and you’ll sail to success for sure!

What does your morning productivity look like? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this advice, learn how to put it into practice and survive even the most chaotic day.


Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She’s passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don’t seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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