“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.” – Mark Twain
Mark Twain woke up each morning, had a hearty breakfast and began writing straight away.
His family knew better than to disturb him, so he was able to work uninterruptedly for several hours.
Twain had found the secret of productivity: doing the Most Important Tasks (what he calls “frogs”) first.
Because productivity isn’t about crossing as many items as possible off your to-do list. It’s about doing what matters the most to you.
Here’s how to apply the “frogs strategy” (as Mark would call it) to your day to reach your goals faster – and without burning out:
What Are MITs (Most Important Tasks)?
A MIT is the most important task you absolutely need to get done today. The task that creates the most significant results and gets you closer to your goals.
Every day, create a list of 3 MITs. One is too little and more than 3 is overwhelming. Plus, if you put every task on your MITs list, you don’t really have a MITs list, do you?
Why You Need A MITs List
Not all tasks are created equal.
Some are so urgent you know you need to do them NOW. Others are small and not that important. Even if you never do them, it won’t make any difference in your life. Then, there are the things you want to do but keep putting off because they scare you (hint: these are usually MITs).
Most people fall into the trap of doing the small but unimportant tasks first (I know I did many times!). You think, “oh, replying to this email or scheduling a few pins for Pinterest will take only 10 mins, so I’d better do it now.”
Before you know it, you wasted most of your day on stuff that doesn’t matter. Now, you’re frustrated cos you don’ t have any time for what you really wanted to do.
If you want to have a productive day – a day when you feel satisfied by everything you’ve accomplished – you need to focus on the tasks that will make the biggest difference in your life first.
How To Find Your MITs
How the heck do you find your Most Important Tasks when you have 100 things competing for your attention on your to-do list everyday?!
Like, should you do emails or social media first? Schedule an appointment with your hairdresser or do the groceries? Write that book you always said you would but never got started on or finish a work presentation?
Here are two questions that’ll help you find the MITs hidden in your to-do list:
Step 1: What Are Your Goals?
When you’re trying to narrow down your to-do list to 3 MITs, ask yourself this: “What are my goals?”
Maybe you want to write books. Or start a consulting business. Or take a photography course and turn your hobby into your side hustle.
Whatever your goal is, that’s your Most Important Task.
If you can make all your MITs related to your goals, you’ve hit the jackpot. But, sometimes, if you want to keep a roof over your head, that work presentation must take precedence. Or if you’re moving house, contacting estate agents, going for viewings etc becomes a priority.
Even so, at least ONE of your MITs must be related to one of your goals.
Related: How To Create Goals With Soul
Step 2: What Action Do You Need To Take To Reach Your Goals?
Now you’re clear on what your goals are, ask yourself, “what step do I need to take to get closer to my goal? What action will move the needle forward the most?”
Let’s say you want to write a book. You could start looking for an agency, reading up on how self-publishing works, create a blog to promote your book…
All stuff you will have to do at some point. All useless until you’ve finished at least the first draft of your manuscript.
If your goal is to write a book, the first action that will move the needle forward the most is to sit down and write it.
So, set a goal that you’ll write at least 3 pages every day (or however many is realistic for you). Then do it first thing every morning.
Do Your MITs First Thing In The Morning
Do your Most Important Tasks first thing in the morning, even if it means getting up an hour earlier.
If you put them off till later or you wait till the end of the day when you come home from work, you won’t have enough energy to work on your MITs.
You’ll feel tired, tell yourself you’ll spend 10 minutes watching Love Island to recharge and before you know it, you’re off to bed. Another day gone and you’re still not any closer to reaching your goals.
But if you get your MITs out of your way first thing in the morning, then you’ll have the rest of the day to do whatever else you want. Heck, you can even take the afternoon off and go shopping with your friends.
The only exception here is if you’re a night owl who’s bursting with energy in the evenings. If you’ve got the time and the energy to work towards your goals, use it baby!
Over to you, now. Are you using the “frogs strategy” and doing your MITs first? Leave a comment and let me know.