Daily Frog Productivity System: Doing more, by doing less

The goal each day is to EAT THE FROG. Approach the rest of your task in order of priority. Determining the priority depends on your situation, but essentially it boils down to this: the closer a task brings you to achieving your goals, the more important it is.

A frog sitting in a forest
Photo by Robert Zunikoff / Unsplash

Imagine this. You have to eat one frog every single day of your life. If reading that made you gag, then I think this post will probably be memorable to you.

In my experience you get two approaches to productivity:

  1. Some of us make lists
  2. And some of us don't

If we had to do a quick survey, you would think that the list makers are more productive and they have less stress. This can definitely be true, but if you are the type of person who makes lists, then you are probably also the type of person who will start obsessing over your list.

Before you know it -  your list is 100 items long and you never get to all of them. You might as well not have had a list in the first place.

What the frog?

Okay back to the frog. If you had to eat one frog a day, how would you approach it? Would you eat it bit by bit, or would you eat it in one go?

Eating it in one go is definitely the least painful method for you and the frog.

This is the essence of my productivity system.

Step 1: Identify the FROG🐸

This is the most important step. Identify the frog on your list.

A frog usually looks like this:

  • You have been dreading doing this task for a few days and each day you postpone it to the next.
  • This is often not something you enjoy doing - but it's important for you to do it. I.e submitting a tax return or calling someone to follow up on an unpaid bill.

Remember, the frog is your goal, if you only complete one task the entire day, it needs to be: eating the frog.

Step 2: Eat your frog first thing in the morning

As soon as your day starts, EAT THE FROG! Get it over with.

The best way to do this is to set out a block of time where you just focus on completing this one task.

Put your phone and inbox on DO NOT DISTURB, get in the zone and eat that frog. And don't stop until you have eaten every last bit of it.

Step 3: Tackle the rest of your tasks in order of priority

Congrats, if you have made it to Step 3, your day is already a success. You have completed the single most important thing on your list, and any other task you complete the rest of the day is a BONUS.

Approach the rest of your task in order of priority. Determining the priority depends on your situation, but essentially it boils down to this:

The closer a task brings you to achieving your goals, the more important it is.

Step 4: Review your list in the evening

Each evening I go through my list of items that need to be done the next day.

Doing this in the evening means you can stop thinking about them and get a good night's rest - which already sets you up for success the next day.

Be kind to yourself and once again, be realistic. You probably won't get to all of the items on your list, but it's okay because you have already eaten the frog.

Reschedule tasks you did not complete to the next day, and start again at Step 1.

One percent progress a day

You might be thinking that completing only one important task a day might not lead to much progress. But let's assume that eating the frog every day leads to 1% improvement.

1% better each day  1.01365 = 37.78

This means that getting 1% better each day will make you 37.78 times better in a years time. Thinking of it in this manner makes it a lot easier to stomach that frog each day.

An image illustrating the exponential improvement of being one percent better each day.
Continuous Improvement:  How It Works and How to Master It - JamesClear.com

Apps are your friend

The above process can be made even easier by using the correct app. I have tried and tested tons of apps, some are very complex and have many functions, but in my experience, the simpler apps are better.

The app I use to implement my system is Todoist.

A snippet showing the Todoist interface

Todoist has all the features you need to implement the above system. I have been using the free plan for nearly 3 years and I have not needed to upgrade to a paid plan yet.

Some of the standout features are:

  • You can prioritize your tasks
  • Schedule tasks for specific days
  • It syncs with your email and calendar
  • I have set up the app to open up on my DAILY FROG screen.

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