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Why ‘Eating the Frog’ Isn’t the Best Productivity Strategy and What to Do Instead

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eat the frog

If you spend any length of time reading productivity articles, you will eventually come across the concept of accomplishing your hardest task first in the course of your day, otherwise known as ‘eating the frog’. The idea is that it is best to tackle the more difficult projects when you are fresh and have plenty of willpower, before the day runs away from you.

Plenty of articles list the benefits of eating the frog first, and for some people diving straight into work can be a great strategy. Even knowing the benefits, it can still be a challenge to implement this strategy for maximum productivity.

One issue with ‘eating the frog’ is that while on paper (or the internet) it can seem like a no brainer; in reality it can be quite difficult to engage with your most challenging project first thing if you have not trained your brain for deep focus. Even if you intend to work first thing on the most difficult task, distractions have a way of creeping into our thoughts and very quickly derailing what was supposed to be an incredibly productive workday.

This is the nature of who we are as human beings. We have evolved to pay attention to our environment, but nowadays it has become negative with consistent vibrations of a smartphone or the tap tap on a keyboard.

To keep distractions at bay, start to develop a practice of focus. This will make ‘eating the frog’ easier to do on a regular basis. You can start to retrain your brain by engaging in simple planning at the beginning of each day. With this in mind, you can ease into the day, otherwise the levels of stress hormones that peak right before waking never quite go down and we are constantly in a flight or fight response, zapping your energy.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

Plan to spend a specific amount of time at the start of each workday on routine administrative tasks such as email and to engage in batch processing wherever possible. Doing so will keep these tasks from occupying your working memory allowing you to more efficiently switch your focus to big picture project items and effectively manage your time.

Finishing even a small task can also give you a boost of satisfaction at having accomplished something early on in the day because it primes your brain to desire future wins. Otherwise, it may be difficult to settle into a state of deep work when you awake because those small tasks will remain at the forefront of your mind, reducing your ability for creative and innovative thinking.

A simple yet effective plan is to devote the first 15-30 minutes of your day to checking your email/voicemail and make any necessary adjustments to the day. To make sure you do not go over the time you allotted for yourself for these tasks, it’s important you only respond to urgent or important calls or emails first and save the rest for later.

A half hour may not seem like enough time if you typically have an overflowing inbox waiting for you but you can always check it at other times of the day. It’s a huge productivity killer to spend your peak energy hours wading through your inbox instead of making real progress right away. Next, make any necessary changes to your overall strategy for tackling the day.

“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” – Francine Jay

If you need to schedule a meeting or cancel an appointment, do so during this period of time. Complete any lingering work from the day before that can quickly be done, and gather any materials you need for the main project of the day. By doing this, you will be more likely to enter into a state of flow once you get started on your more difficult task.

After completing these tasks, you can more efficiently transition to your more difficult or time-consuming projects for the day by temporarily silencing the push notifications of your brain. If you need to set an alarm on your computer or phone to get you to disconnect from these more administrative tasks after 15-30 minutes, do so. It’s a small change, but over time will pay dividends especially by reducing the urge to multitask, the ultimate productivity killer.

What are some strategies that have helped you increase your productivity? Let us know by commenting below!
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Success Advice

7 Tips to Becoming a Successful Networker

Making yourself more memorable means you’ll have a better chance of making connections

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Corporate events have long been regarded as an important tool for broadening professional networks and expanding business. Yet it’s tough to stand out from the crowd when it comes to networking at these events. You’re not the only one at the event, which means you’re competing for attention with other attendees who are also trying to make a splash. (more…)

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20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way

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