How do Eating Animals Relate to Productivity?
Two of my favorite productivity techniques relates to eating animals, but not just any animals: a frog and an elephant. Certainly, by all accounts, not your everyday meal choices! We’ll start with the frog. Think of eating the frog as your most difficult to-do of the day; the thing that you might sometimes procrastinate on. The recommended time to eat a frog is first thing in the morning. Consider doing your most difficult to-do first thing in the morning for many reasons:
There are typically fewer interruptions; the world is not yet in your face. Without interruptions there is a higher likelihood you will be able to complete the task
Morning for many people is the most high-energy time of the day which helps in maintaining your focus
Getting this one task done guarantees one important success for the day. If the rest of your day gets thrown off the rails, at least you completed your most difficult task
It helps the focus muscle memory. If later in the day you need to complete another high-focus task, your mind has already focused successfully and can more easily repeat that experience again
Motivation speaker Brian Tracy has popularized the concept and referred to it as “eat a frog” first thing in the morning. Why? Eating a frog seems difficult and unpleasant for many people. So, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first, and the hardest task will be done for the day. It is a productivity technique for addressing procrastination.
Now, eating an elephant is a different meal. Unlike a frog, you cannot eat an entire elephant in the morning. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Eating an elephant represents the idea of taking a large task or project that feels overwhelming and breaking it down into smaller chunks or activities that seem bite-sized. As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), I can tell you that this is a core technique of project management and productivity. A large elephant-like project needs to be decomposed or broken down into steps. These steps, or bite-sized activities, can then be executed and completed. As you complete each step, you are systemically bite-by-bite eating the elephant.
In summary, consider addressing procrastination head-on by eating your frog in the morning and then eat a bite of the elephant to make progress on a large overwhelming task. By adding these two animals to your diet, you can improve your productivity and feel a sense of accomplishment!