Let’s Eat that Frog (How to Stop Procrastination)

Eat the live frog first!

Have you ever heard of this term? Let me break it down to you. The word frog is used in context for the tasks that are difficult to do. It could be a thing that stayed on your to-do list for more than two to three days, yet you never find any motivation to do it. It is something that you are most likely to procrastinate on.

Eating the frog means performing that difficult task right away, doing it before the frog eats you or slips through your fingers. Meaning you will end up losing the deadline/the opportunity or perhaps you will find yourself procrastinating the whole day.

So, what does this term is all about? Just as no one would like to eat a frog, no one likes to perform their most uneasy tasks. And that is why it emphasizes eating that disgusting frog in the first place. This term was first linked to Mark Twain in 1988, in his sayings, Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

But, the real question is, HOW CAN WE EAT THAT FROG? When all we want is to avoid eating it.

There is an effective technique to do it, The Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. This technique has helped many in completing difficult tasks effectively and efficiently.

Following are the steps that have found to be helpful for better performance of a daunting task:

  1. Make up your mind to perform the task
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer (alarm) to 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down on a piece of paper or note it down on your phone but immediately get back on the task
  5. After the timer tings, put a star (or a tick) on a piece of paper or temporarily where you were performing that task
  6. Take a short 3–5 minute break [or you can perhaps treat yourself with a candy :) ]
  7. Repeat steps 1–6
  8. After you have four ticks on your paper, you can take a longer break (15–20 minutes) and continue working on your task by going to step 1 until you complete your task. :)

I have used this technique for most of my tough tasks, and I have found this very helpful. Here is one recent example of my experience with it. Two days ago, I had to solve a sample paper to prepare for my exam. The sample paper was three hours long, and for that reason, I was delaying it, as it would consume a lot of my energy, and I wasn’t in a mood. I knew it was necessary for me to solve it, as it would give me near to real experience of the paper and would help me in preparing for the actual test. So, I made up my mind to only solve it for 25 minutes first, with no disruptions and distractions. I set up my timer and began working on it. Once the timer went off, I took a 5-minute break. After that, again set my timer, and continue working on the paper, I repeat this process three times until I finish solving my sample paper.

Following are my key takeaways from this experiment:

  1. One thing I realized from this experience is that the task that I thought to be too difficult became very easy when I made up my mind to just start it. Once I began working on it, it wasn’t difficult for me to finish it.
  2. Also, the Pomodoro technique not only helped me in finishing the task but it helped me to be more focused on it while working. I knew I had to concentrate for 25 minutes only, then I would get a 5-minute break, which acted as if it restored my energy for the next 25 minutes.

I use this technique for most of my tough tasks as well as daily routine tasks. Say, If I need to perform a home chore, I set the timer for 25 minutes, my mind activates once I set the timer as if it has trained now. In this way, I get to do more work with more focus and in less time. So, my suggestion is to Procrastinate your Procrastination.

You can download apps like Pomodoro Timer Lite or if you are working on your Laptop or PC, Tomato Timers is a way to go.

Happy Eating the Frog!



Writing to escape from darkness by coming to brighter side of the world where there’s sky above, eyes twinkling, sublimity whispering & my thoughts overflowing!

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Zorain Tooba

Writing to escape from darkness by coming to brighter side of the world where there’s sky above, eyes twinkling, sublimity whispering & my thoughts overflowing!