Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Big Frog or Little Frog First?

When I was in seventh grade, my mom took my older sister and me to a leadership conference where I learned an important concept: swallow the big frog first. This simply means that when you write out your list of priorities and tasks, start with the most time-consuming and/or the one you are dreading the most. The idea is that if you get the biggest, most dreadful thing done ("swallowed") first, the rest will be easy. If you start by eating the little frog first and move to progressively larger frogs, you get worn out.

This concept has saved me many times over the years. If there was a research paper I was dreading or a particular project I didn't want to get started, I knew that was the exact thing I needed to work on.

Recently, though, I began thinking about how sometimes there is also value in starting with the little frogs -- the low hanging fruit. Starting with a bunch of little frogs can sometimes get you in the zone and motivate you to keep moving. For example, when trying to pay off debts, it can be exciting to pay off a few little debts quickly and then start putting that money toward larger debts.

Ultimately, no matter what size "frog" you start with, the important thing is to get started.

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