You don’t have to eat that frog!

ADHD Biz Tips: You don't have to eat that frog!

“What’s important is finding out what works for you.”
– Thomas Moore

Have you ever woken up with big plans for a big project but somewhere along the line (sometimes even before breakfast) things get derailed and you end the day feeling frustrated and discouraged? You might have managed to get a few minor things ticked off your to-do list, but your big plan remains just that, a plan, while the action required to bring it to fruition eludes you once again.

According to author Brian Tracy the solution to these kinds of days is to do the hardest, biggest or least enjoyable task first so you can get over that hump and the rest of your day feels a bit like rolling down a hill.. sounds pretty great right?

“Eat That Frog!” is a popular book written by the self-help and motivational guru that offers a simple approach to overcoming procrastination and accomplishing more in less time. The book’s central metaphor of “eating the frog” encourages readers to tackle their most challenging and important tasks first thing in the morning, as a means to increase productivity and reduce stress. Tracy gives a multitude of strategies, techniques, and insights to help folks prioritise effectively, set clear goals, overcome distractions, and maintain focus on high-impact activities. On the face of it, it’s reasonably practical and even powerful stuff. 

But if you’ve got ADHD it’s unlikely to be helpful.

While the idea of attacking the most challenging tasks first thing in the morning, as suggested in the book can be an effective strategy for some, this approach could be a disaster for the business owner with ADHD. I don’t know about you but some mornings it’s a struggle to get myself to do even the bare minimum! Most of the time, attempting something too challenging or unappealing first thing in the morning would leave me frustrated and stuck for most of the day.

We all have things on our to-do list that we put off or even avoid doing. There are lots of potential reasons for this, including a lack of clarity around the steps we need to take (especially the very first step), a lack of confidence in our abilities or sometimes it’s a task that feels boring or hard and it just doesn’t inspire us to take action. Often for my clients it comes from difficulty with breaking a bigger job down into smaller, bite size chunks which leads to overwhelm and a feeling that there will never be enough time or energy to finish the task in one go.

All of these reasons can quickly lead to task paralysis which can leave us feeling unproductive, ashamed, and even incompetent. We might doubt our ability to accomplish even basic things and sometimes we let the shame spiral trick us in to giving up completely. It’s a recipe for calamity!

So what should we do instead?

The idea of diving into the most challenging tasks can be overwhelming so let’s not push ourselves further down the path of frustration or avoidance!

If you’ve got an ADHD brain (or any brain that’s not “neurotypical”!) it’s helpful to adopt a more personalised approach that takes into account your specific strengths and challenges. It’s about finding what works best for you. Here are some of the top tips I often share with my 1:1 clients for getting harder tasks done:

Go easy:

Start the ball rolling with the easiest tasks on your list. This can give you a few quick wins or runs on the board and help to build both confidence and momentum.

Mix it up:

Incorporate variety into your work routine, alternating between tasks of varying difficulty levels. This approach can help you maintain interest, prevent boredom, and provide a sense of accomplishment as you complete different tasks throughout the day.

Break it down:

Breaking your big tasks into smaller chunks and interspersing them with more enjoyable or rewarding activities can help to sustain motivation and reduce the likelihood of becoming overwhelmed or discouraged. Read more about how to break jobs down into manageable chunks.

Know your rhythm:

Imagine trying to eat a frog first thing in the morning when you do your best work between 8-10pm! Leveraging your natural bursts of energy and focus is a much more effective approach. When do you do your best work?

Get real!

We all want to get our biggest and hardest jobs crossed off our to-do list but being over-ambitious can result in some serious under-achievement. If you know that writing and pushing send on an email announcing a price rise will take everything you’ve got, make sure you block out enough time after you do it to decompress and refill your cup.

These are just a few alternatives to eating a frog but the best options will be the ones that work for you.

But what about the times when you have a hard deadline or there’s something else you want to give your time and attention to asap..

What if you really want to eat that frog?

If you’d like to be able to get over the biggest hump of the day first thing in the morning, here are a few tips to eat a frog with an ADHD brain:

How big?

Be realistic about how big a task you can take on in one go. Allocate a generous time estimate to each step you want to take (see list below for examples) and spend that amount of time working toward the outcome, rather than focusing solely on getting to the outcome.

First steps, next steps:

I know I have a habit of banging on about breaking things down but it’s such a stumbling block that it’s always worth repeating: before you start, take some time to get clear on what your very first step is, as well as the next 3-5 steps. Take the price rise scenario for example and it might look like this:

  1. Check and finalise your new prices (30 mins).
  2. Make a list of the clients you want to notify (10 mins)
  3. Draft the email template (60 mins)
  4. Get some feedback if needed (60 mins)
  5. Proofread and finalise the email copy (45 mins)
  6. Send the email to 5 clients (20 mins)

For the best results make the steps bite size and specific so that you know exactly what you need to focus on.

Get support:

It’s much easier to eat a frog when you have help! To stay on track and accountable use Focusmate or ask a friend or colleague to be your body double. If you’ve got a support crew like the Execute group, lean on them for encouragement and feedback if needed.

Make it worth your while:

Before you attempt to eat a frog figure out how you’ll reward yourself when the job is done. Don’t be tempted to skip this step and assume that the task being done will be reward enough! Whether it’s as simple as a pat on your back or a fancy lunch with a mate, be sure to find something that will boost your motivation when thoughts of quitting inevitably cross your mind.


If you’ve got a frog you need to eat, try working up to it with some quick wins. List 3-4 easy and fast tasks that you can start with to help build both your momentum and self belief.

Eating the frog might be a strategy that works great for certain people, maybe it even works for you too, but it’s important to remember that no strategy works for everyone and it has no impact on our inherent value and unique abilities. The key is to keep trying new ways and most of all building a solid support network of people who understand so you never have to feel alone with your struggle.

Until next week!

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