“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.You have to pick carefully.” –Steve Jobs
1: Manage priorities, not time
Nothing saps your energy more than having an important task hanging over you and not doing it.
That’s where the somewhat unconventional strategy of “eating the frog” can help.
As Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Think about the most essential item on your to-do list – one that you have been actively avoiding – and do that first.
Checking email or your calendar keeps you busy and may trick you into thinking you are being productive. But in the long run, it will sap your energy and motivation, and you’ll end up wasting too much time avoiding important tasks.
Second best: Do the tasks you’ve committed to doing for others. When people are depending on you to complete something, doing it will earn you small wins and builds momentum.
The lesson? Eat the frog before you do anything else.
2. Manage your brain, not time
There’s also a big-picture benefit of eating the frog: This strategy can actually rewire your brain for success.
Each time you train your brain to eat the frog, it gets easier to do next time. That’s because you’re building a pathway and retraining your brain to do something that’s challenging. As an exercise, try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or taking a cold shower tomorrow morning.
You can change your brain and convince yourself that you can, and should, do hard things.
Your brain – and your productivity – will thank you for it
Which of these tips could you use this week?