#Change management for structured change

Get to know the principle of “Eat the Frog

The “Eat the Frog” principle was developed by the US success coach and author Brian Tracy and describes a form of personal time management in which the aim is to complete the most unpleasant task of the day first. It’s a method designed to help set clear priorities and avoid putting off unpleasant tasks forever. When this most difficult task on the to-do list of the day is done, all other things planned for the day will come off easier. Psychologically, this time management approach also has a great advantage, because once the most strenuous task is completed, people feel validated in their ability to perform. This in turn provides a higher level of self-confidence. The expression “Eat the Frog” is based on a quote by French writer Nicolas Chamfort, although it is often attributed to author Mark Twain. Translated, this quote means, “Eat a live frog already at the beginning of the day and you will have already overcome the worst!”

In order to be able to complete the most important task of the day first, it is necessary to identify this task first. It should always be kept in mind that the most urgent task is not necessarily the most important one. The most important tasks are the importance for personal development, the use of one’s own skills as a unique selling point within a project, or tasks that really move the person forward. It is always important to reflect on how employees can make the most valuable use of their time. Once the identified frog – i.e. the most difficult task – of the day has been eaten, this has many positive effects for the rest of the day. The baggage of the difficult task is cast off and those involved are proud of themselves for finally getting over it. The feeling of relief prevails, because the dark shadow that the difficult task has cast on the day is finally dissipating. The sufferers now have time to devote themselves to the other, not so problematic tasks and go about them with fun and energy.

Successfully swallow the frog in three steps

The “Eat the Frog” method is a not-so-simple, but effective strategy for getting important tasks done. It requires a lot of self-discipline to be successful. However, if you want to try this effective method for yourself, you should follow these steps:

    Implementing the “eat-the-frog” principle is based on defining clear goals that support structured and productive work. It is important to define what is to be achieved, how the goals are to be achieved, and why the goals are to be implemented. The timing and manner of implementation must also be established. In this regard, written determination is more effective because it is more memorable.
    Now it becomes more difficult, because it is necessary to filter out the frog of the day. When looking at the daily schedule, people should ask themselves which of the pending tasks they would most like to move to the back. Which of the pending tasks is particularly heavy on the stomach, but needs to be done? Once this task has been identified, it also identifies the frog that should be done at the very beginning of the day.
    Now comes by far the most difficult part – devouring the slippery animal, i.e. working through this task. Brain Tracy advises that large tasks be broken down into smaller bites by to-do list to be easier to digest. The to-do list should be worked through step by step, and it is necessary to stay focused. It is imperative not to be distracted by the goals you have set for yourself.

The “eat-the-frog” principle is indeed a valuable support for getting the most out of the day and working productively. However, users should keep in mind that it is not possible to swallow a frog every day and always intersperse relaxation phases.

The “eat-the-frog” principle – not at all easy to implement

Especially beginners who want to take advantage of this time management methodology for themselves rarely find it easy to implement the principle. Already the identification of the frog encounters problems with real beginners, so that it takes some practice until those concerned can recognize for themselves which of the pending tasks is the frog. Therefore, users should always think carefully about what their personal priority list looks like and stick to the list they have drawn up themselves. The activities that require the most energy and have the highest priority must always be completed first – even if the completion of the respective task involves effort.

In order to optimize one’s own time management with the “eat-the-frog” principle for the completion of one’s own workload in the professional environment and in one’s private life, one must overcome one’s inner pig dog. This requires self-discipline and the will to master the challenges of the activities at hand. It also requires iron self-discipline to avoid falling back into old patterns of action and bad habits. Last but not least, a high degree of stamina is required, because this is needed to maintain this work structure in the long term and to firmly establish it as one’s own way of working. If these necessary individual characteristics are missing, the application of the “eat-the-frog” principle will not work.

Comparison of advantages and disadvantages

The time management method has many advantages, which the user can use for himself. For example, it can be used to get a grip on the sometimes pathological behavior of postponing unpleasant activities in both private and professional life. In doing so, the user achieves that they can arrange their tasks in such a way that it is convenient for them and still meet the existing deadlines. In doing so, they do not get lost in details during completion, go through the day motivated and work in a results-oriented manner. At the same time, they can completely determine the duration for the completion of the task themselves and are not gegängelt from the outside. After completing the task, they get their heads free for other essential things and feel relieved, since the big chunk can no longer send its dark shadows ahead.

However, processing based on the “eat-the-frog” principle also has disadvantages, which do not simplify processing, but can make it even more difficult. For example, if only the most dreaded task is picked out for processing, and not the one with the highest priority, it can mutate into a real time-eater. In turn, if the ratio between the size of the frog and the selected time slot is too small, it is likely to create additional pressure to process. If there is a relapse into old behavioral patterns, i.e. a lack of self-discipline and a lack of will to take on one frog per day, the mountain of tasks to be mastered will grow again and, as a result, user demotivation will set in.

More productive with the “eat-the-frog” principle

In order to profit from the advantages of the “Eat-the-Frog” principle, complex and extensive work should be divided into smaller parts so that the individual work steps can also be mastered. As a whole, a complex task would tend to be daunting. After the work is done, users should reward themselves – for example, with a short break or a treat. The identification of the frog should be recorded in writing. This keeps the frog in mind and the work can be started in a focused manner. A time window for completion should also be fixed in advance so that the focus is maintained. After completing the work on the frog, the pleasant feeling of having accomplished something sets in. After a certain period of use, the user will find out whether this time management brings more productivity into everyday life.