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The Eat That Frog Method to Stop Procrastination and Boost Productivity

The Eat that Frog Method is a productivity system developed by Brian Tracy, a well-known motivational speaker, and self-development author.  He summarizes the method in his book entitled "Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time".

This is a brilliant book, I’ve read it (more than once), and use many of the concepts described to keep procrastination at bay and to consistently achieve my goals!

How about you? Is there something that you have been meaning to do for ages, but can never seem to find the time, or motivation to get around to doing it?

Read on to find out how to use the Eat That Frog Method to stop procrastination in its tracks and get much more done in a fraction of the time!

Eat That Frog Method to stop procrastination and boost productivity. An image of a live frog on a plate with a knife and fork is shown.

Eat That Frog Method - Key Principles

The Eat that Frog Method is a simple but powerful productivity system that provides many practical insights and recommendations to reduce procrastination and boost productivity.

The name of this productivity system originates from the historic quote: 

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

Brian Tracey applies this principle to task management, stating that your "frog" is the most important, most impactful task on your do-to list.

He proposes the following rules for "frog eating":  

  • Tackle the most difficult tasks first thing in the morning and resist the temptation of working on easier, less important tasks first.  
  • If you have two important tasks to complete, prioritize the most difficult task (the biggest, ugliest frog).
  • Avoid procrastinating on eating your frogs! Get started on your most important task straight away, stay focused and aim to get it done as quickly as possible.

When you complete a difficult task, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement which will motivate you to continue. This feeling is addictive!

Get into the habit of starting your day with your most difficult tasks and become addicted to achieving success!

Write down your goals and action plan to achieve them

According to Brian Tracey, lack of clarity is the biggest cause of procrastination. You need to have a clear picture of what you would like to achieve before you can set about achieving it.

"Think on paper!"

Start by making a list of your goals and set target dates for completion. Be realistic, set dates that you can reasonably achieve, taking into account your regular commitments.

Write down the action steps you need to take to reach each goal, define the order in which each step should be carried out, then create your action plan to achieve your goals.

Choose the goal that will have the biggest positive impact on your life (your biggest frog) and start on it straight away.

Make a pact with yourself to work on your biggest frog every day until it is completed.

Someone writing a list of goals.

Use lists to plan ahead 

The Eat That Frog Method encourages using lists for planning ahead. This is a big MUST to help you to overcome procrastination, improve productivity and boost your performance!

It has been shown that productivity can be increased by 25% or more by forward planning, which can save you about 2 hours in a working day!

Get into the habit of using lists for planning ahead:

  • Master List: Prepare a list of all the things you would like to do in the future.
  • Monthly List: At the end of each month, review your master list and note the tasks you wish to complete during the following month.
  • Weekly List: Plan your week in advance by creating a list of the tasks you would like to get done during the coming week. This list may contain items from the master list, the monthly list, and additional tasks that arise as the week progresses. 
  • Daily List: Similarly at the end of each day, plan ahead for the following day. Tick off the items on your list as you complete them. This will motivate you to move forward and complete more tasks on your list!  

Preparing your to-do list the day before has the added benefit of allowing your subconscious mind to find the most effective ways to complete your tasks. So when you start on them the following day, you'll know exactly what you need to do and how to do it.

You'll be even more productive!

Check out these FREE Planner Printables to help you plan ahead.

Eat That Frog Method for Prioritization

According to Brian Tracy, the key to success is being able to identify and prioritize your most important tasks (your frogs) and complete them as quickly as possible.

The Eat that Frog Method encompasses different ways to prioritize tasks on your to-do list: 

Apply the Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 Rule, states that 80% of our results are derived from 20% of our activities. But what does this mean in practical terms, and how do we use it to prioritize our work? Let’s find out!

When faced with a list of 10 tasks, one or two of the tasks will likely provide much more value than all of the other items on the list put together.

Applying the principles of the Eat That Frog Method, the tasks that offer the highest value are your frogs.

Prioritize your to-do list, by focusing on the high-value tasks and avoiding working on low-value tasks. 

Evaluate the consequences

One of the best ways to determine whether a task should be prioritized or not is to evaluate the consequences of doing or not doing the task.

Tasks that have high positive or negative consequences are your frogs and should be given high priority. These tasks or activities are the ones that will have the greatest impact on your life and future.

Use the ABCDE Method

Another way to prioritize your to-do list is by applying the ABCDE Method:

A-Tasks: These are tasks that you MUST do, your frogs! Not doing these tasks may have serious consequences.

Examples include: addressing a critical client issue or completing a report needed by your boss for an upcoming board meeting.

If you have more than one frog to address, define their priority by adding numbers: A1, A2, A3, etc.

A-Tasks should always be done first.

B-Tasks: Tasks that you SHOULD do, such as returning unimportant phone calls or responding to certain emails. 

Not doing these tasks may have minor consequences.

C-Tasks: These are tasks that you may want to do, but there are no serious consequences if you don't do them.

Examples include: having coffee with a work colleague or attending to personal affairs during work hours.  

D-Tasks: This includes all tasks that can be delegated. 

Identify the tasks that don't need to be done by you and delegate as much as possible. This will give you more time for the A-Tasks that only you can do.

E-Tasks: These are tasks that don’t provide value, and should be eliminated from your list.

Prepare for action!

The Eat That Frog Method advocates being properly prepared before starting work on your tasks. Use the following tips: 

  • Be proactive! Set aside blocks of time in your calendar to complete your "frogs" first thing in the morning, or during periods when your energy levels are highest.
  • Gather together everything you will need to complete your task: reference information, relevant emails, stationery, etc.  Make sure that everything is close to hand.
  • Create a comfortable working environment to help you focus on your work for the required time.

Identify what makes you procrastinate

A woman sitting in front of a desk procrastinating.

Many factors cause us to procrastinate and prevent us from achieving our goals. Internal factors, such as lack of skills, low confidence in our ability to complete the task, or fear of failure. External factors, such as lack of resources or constraints within our organization may also hold us back.

Use the Eat That Frog Method to determine which factors are hindering your progress. Ask yourself the question: "Why haven't I yet achieved this goal?" 

Once you’ve identified what is causing you to procrastinate, define the steps you need to take to eliminate it. This process is one of your frogs! 

Adopt an optimistic mind-set

Staying positive and motivated isn’t always easy, especially when faced with problems or drawbacks that prevent us from reaching our goals.

Focus on moving forward and refuse to dwell on negative thoughts that can cause you to procrastinate. Make a point of learning from past mistakes to help you move forward.

Break large tasks into manageable chunks

A complex task can be intimidating and make us procrastinate.

To overcome this problem, the Eat That Frog Method proposes breaking down complex tasks into smaller, "bite-sized" pieces which are easier to handle. 

Whenever faced with a complex task or project, identify all of the actionable steps (or subtasks) needed to complete the full task.

Arrange the subtasks in the order they should be carried out, set a date to complete each task, and get started on the first one.

The hardest part is getting started. Once you get started, you gain momentum and motivation to complete one task after the next, rather like slicing a large salami or making holes in Swiss cheese. 

Get into flow

"Flow" is defined as the state we achieve when we are fully focused on our task and our work progresses effortlessly. By working in our "flow" state we can achieve high productivity with ease.  

According to Brian Tracey, we need a sense of urgency and momentum to trigger the flow state. Seeing the progress we've made in completing tasks motivates us and gives us momentum to move forward.

To achieve and maintain the flow state:

  • Don’t procrastinate, get started on your task!
  • Give yourself deadlines and keep them in sight.
  • Stay focused and work on the task until it's complete, then move on to the next task.
  • Ignore distractions and monotask!


The Eat That Frog Method is based on the concept that your "frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on.

The main essence of the Eat That Frog Method lies in following three essential rules:

  • Eat your frog first thing in the morning.
  • If you have to eat two frogs, eat the biggest, ugliest one first.
  • If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long…get started.

Stop procrastinating and start achieving high performance and productivity NOW!

Further Reading

Check out the following articles to stay productive and make more time for YOU!


  1. Book: Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey.