The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life

Why ‘Eating the Frog’ Might Just Ruin Your Day (and What to Do Instead)

July 08, 2024 Dai Manuel Season 2 Episode 117
Why ‘Eating the Frog’ Might Just Ruin Your Day (and What to Do Instead)
The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life
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The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life
Why ‘Eating the Frog’ Might Just Ruin Your Day (and What to Do Instead)
Jul 08, 2024 Season 2 Episode 117
Dai Manuel

Can tackling your hardest task first thing in the morning harm your productivity?

Join me, Dai Manuel, on this episode of the 2% Solution as we challenge the "eat the frog" approach and explore why it might not be the optimal way to start your day.

Through personal insights and research, we dissect the stresses and burnout associated with this method and offer alternative strategies like small wins, mindfulness practices, and morning exercise.

Discover how these alternatives can set a positive tone for your day and cater to your unique needs and preferences, enhancing your productivity and well-being.

Listener questions take center stage as we dive into practical tips for starting your day on a high note and balancing tough tasks with easier ones.

Learn about the power of gratitude journaling and how spending just five minutes each morning can transform your outlook.

We also explore the Pomodoro Technique, a game-changing method for maintaining focus and preventing burnout by working in intervals.

Experiment with these strategies to find what works best for you.

Plus, we invite you to share your morning routines and feedback through our social media channels, with a special offer for the first three responders!


TEXT ME here - Have a question? Comment? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you.

Support the Show.



A Message from Dai, host of the 2% Solution Podcast:

Hey there, you fantastic listener! 👋

As we wrap up another episode of The 2% Solution Podcast, I want to throw a massive, confetti-filled THANK YOU your way.

As we launch this podcast, your support is like getting an extra espresso in your Venti Americano—unexpected and refreshing!

Your reviews? They're like high-fives to my soul. Your shares? They're spreading more joy than cat videos on the internet. Subscribing? You're officially the coolest in my book.

Meeting in the 2% Collective Community? It's like watching a garden of awesomeness bloom – and you're all the sunflowers making it happen!

Keep being the amazing, 2%-improving rockstars that you are.

🌟 Stay fabulous, stay tuned, and stay 2%! 🚀

Love, laughs, and much gratitude,

Dai M.

P.S. I'm primarily active on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Feel free to connect and start a conversation. If you're searching for inspiring, motivational, educational, and healthy living content, check out my over 1500 articles at DaiManuel.com - I enjoy writing, okay? lol

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Can tackling your hardest task first thing in the morning harm your productivity?

Join me, Dai Manuel, on this episode of the 2% Solution as we challenge the "eat the frog" approach and explore why it might not be the optimal way to start your day.

Through personal insights and research, we dissect the stresses and burnout associated with this method and offer alternative strategies like small wins, mindfulness practices, and morning exercise.

Discover how these alternatives can set a positive tone for your day and cater to your unique needs and preferences, enhancing your productivity and well-being.

Listener questions take center stage as we dive into practical tips for starting your day on a high note and balancing tough tasks with easier ones.

Learn about the power of gratitude journaling and how spending just five minutes each morning can transform your outlook.

We also explore the Pomodoro Technique, a game-changing method for maintaining focus and preventing burnout by working in intervals.

Experiment with these strategies to find what works best for you.

Plus, we invite you to share your morning routines and feedback through our social media channels, with a special offer for the first three responders!


TEXT ME here - Have a question? Comment? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you.

Support the Show.



A Message from Dai, host of the 2% Solution Podcast:

Hey there, you fantastic listener! 👋

As we wrap up another episode of The 2% Solution Podcast, I want to throw a massive, confetti-filled THANK YOU your way.

As we launch this podcast, your support is like getting an extra espresso in your Venti Americano—unexpected and refreshing!

Your reviews? They're like high-fives to my soul. Your shares? They're spreading more joy than cat videos on the internet. Subscribing? You're officially the coolest in my book.

Meeting in the 2% Collective Community? It's like watching a garden of awesomeness bloom – and you're all the sunflowers making it happen!

Keep being the amazing, 2%-improving rockstars that you are.

🌟 Stay fabulous, stay tuned, and stay 2%! 🚀

Love, laughs, and much gratitude,

Dai M.

P.S. I'm primarily active on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Feel free to connect and start a conversation. If you're searching for inspiring, motivational, educational, and healthy living content, check out my over 1500 articles at DaiManuel.com - I enjoy writing, okay? lol

Dai Manuel:

Hey there, 2% Collective Warriors, welcome back to another episode of the 2% Solution. I'm your host, diamond Well, and today, on Mental Health Monday, we're tackling a popular productivity myth why eating the frog isn't always the best way to start your day, and what I'd like to suggest doing instead. We'll explore why jumping into your hardest task first thing might not be the best approach for everyone and discuss alternative strategies to kickstart your day with positivity and productivity. I've spent over 30 years in the health and fitness industry and tried everything in the book to boost productivity the eat the frog method. Been there, done that. But let's talk about why it might not be the magic bullet it's cracked up to be.

Dai Manuel:

First, let's define what we mean by eating the frog. This concept comes from Mark Twain, who famously said if it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. Brian Tracy popularized this idea in his book Eat that Frog, suggesting that tackling your hardest task first can boost your productivity. But while this approach works for some, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. So let's explore why that is Limitations of eating the frog. This approach has some real challenges. Studies from the American Psychological Association show that individual differences in productivity mean that what works for one person might not work for another. So forcing yourself to tackle a daunting task first can actually lead to stress and maybe even burnout, as highlighted in research from the Journal of Occupational Health and Psychology. So why don't we talk about some alternative morning strategies? What can you do instead? Here's a few ideas. Number one start with the small wins. Research from Harvard Business Review shows that beginning your day with small, manageable tasks helps you build natural momentum and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Number two mindfulness and morning routines. We talk about that a lot here in our collective community, don't we? Incorporating mindfulness practice, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help you start your day with clarity and calm. The American Mindfulness Research Association has found that mindfulness can significantly reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Dai Manuel:

I don't know about you, but I know after a nice breath work session of three to five minutes holy smokes I feel completely different, completely different, and I encourage you. Why don't you have that experience too? I highly recommend an app called Insight Timer I'm not an affiliate, by the way, okay, so there's no hidden agenda here. An app called Insight Timer I'm not an affiliate, by the way. Okay, so there's no hidden agenda here, but it is an amazing app and it was an app that my wife introduced me to many, many, many, many, many moons ago, and I love it. I recommended it all the time. It's got a ton of different instructors that create content for the app all around the world and all different styles of meditation, meditation styles and sorry meditations, meditation practices and breathing strategies, as well as different breathing techniques. So really cool, great app, free to access. Check it out. Insight Timer.

Dai Manuel:

Now number three physical activity morning exercise game changer. Boost your mood, energy levels. Exercise game changer. Boost your mood, energy levels and productivity as a result. According to the Mayo Clinic, just 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise can prepare you for a successful day. And hey, what's 2% of every 24 hours, ken? Oh, yeah, that's 30 minutes. I like that. I see where this is going.

Dai Manuel:

A little bit of personal story here. I've experimented with various morning routines over the years, as you can probably imagine. Doing this for 30 years, I've had a lot of chances to try a lot of different things, and I remember when I first tried eat the frog method, because I'm a big fan of Brian Tracy no doubt. He is freaking awesome and if you haven't checked out some of his talks, go to YouTube. Type in Brian Tracy oh my goodness, so much great information out there and he's got a crazy amount. I would equate him to the Stephen King of the personal and professional development world, all right. So as Stephen King is prolific writer in the fiction, horror space right, horror and fantasy, brian Tracy is that for quite literally, for personal and professional development amazing stuff. And I remember it felt like I was setting myself up for failure every morning. It just it was hard for me to try to nail that biggest, most daunting task.

Dai Manuel:

First thing because it was out of my normal. My normal is to move my body first thing in the morning drink some water, you know, get in the early morning sun, like, do things that are more self-care orientated rather than maybe that productivity check mark. But here's the funny thing yeah, I might spend that hour to two hours just getting my day started Right, and I get up early, so I have plenty of time to get this in in the morning. So if you're like, oh, I don't have that much time in the morning, I'm like just get up a little earlier. Okay, just a little earlier, see, handled your objection. How easy was that. And uh, uh, and, and I know, switching to starting my day with a quick workout, you know, coming back from that eat the frogs idea, I just found that, along with some mindfulness, was actually more significant because I was more productive when it came time to do my work, which usually I'd be sitting down at my computer around 9 am, 9.30 am and I'd crush out a day. You know, a full day of productivity, or at least I felt very productive, but also with lots of little breaks throughout.

Dai Manuel:

Listeners have also shared their experiences with me. One listener found that starting your day with a gratitude journal made her more productive and happier. So there's another option maybe starting the day with some gratitude journaling. You know, these personal stories highlight the importance of finding what works best for you. So if you have a story right, you who's listening to this right now? Go to the show notes, click link that says text me. You know you can literally shoot me a message through your SMS app on your phone because you're listening to this while you're doing something else I listen to podcasts too and just click open the notes, click on that little link. It'll open up your SMS app Shoot. You know what works for you, what helps you feel most productive in your day, what sets you up to get your day successful. Love to hear that and I'd love to share it on future episodes. So here's some practical tips to help you customize that morning routine.

Dai Manuel:

Number one identify your peak productivity times. Pay attention to when you feel most energetic and focused during the day and schedule to eat the frog during that time. Okay, so the hardest tasks, the most daunting tasks, the most energy, laborious tasks. Figure out when you are at your best energetically in the day for that kind of work. Do it then All right, it will help and make a big difference. Number two mix it up, balance difficult tasks with easier ones throughout the day to avoid burnout. Studies from the American Psychological Association show that burying your tasks can maintain motivation and productivity, because you know and I love doing this I'll spend like 10 minutes doing just simple. You know low energy tasks Like these are like sort of just doing just simple. You know low energy tasks Like these are like sort of just check and forget. You know it's like things I can get off my plate really quickly. It's like boom, boom, boom, boom. Just get them done, and I love to start with those kinds of tasks because it's like. It's like clearing my email, my email, right.

Dai Manuel:

I practice inbox zero for those that don't know, and if you're not familiar with inbox zero, let me know if you want me to do an episode on it, cause it's, it's, it's a big deal. When I started doing this, it made my email life way less daunting and it's allowed me to keep up on that constant C at ebb and flow of emails, right, I mean, who doesn't draft emails every day? Oh, inbox zero, great strategy. And I remember just being able to lean out that box in this certain methodology that I learned with Inbox Zero and, wow, it makes me feel really good. It makes me feel like I'm ready to go, because I just create this positive momentum in doing that first thing and it doesn't take me very much time, right? So sometimes I do that very first or last on my workday. So I go, you know, I go offline. You know I'm done my work day and I feel like I've got nothing in my inbox that's pressing. I can deal with it later and I start my day that way too.

Dai Manuel:

I wake up, you know, when I sit down at the desk. Nine, nine, 30, I'll click ready. Yeah, anyways, try it. Try it. Let me know what you think you know. So, mixing that up those difficult tasks with the easy task. And then, number three create a ritual in your mornings. Develop a morning routine that includes activities that energize and motivate you, whether it's exercise, meditation, reading, gratitude, journaling, I mean whatever it is that gets you going. Do it and do it consistently, and if you do it enough, it will become not only a habit and a lifestyle, but it will even ascend that to something greater, which will become a ritual for you. You won't even be thinking about it anymore, it's just what you do, like breathing.

Dai Manuel:

Now I had a couple questions come my way, actually from the text. And so, listener, now, hey, full disclosure everybody. If you don't put your name in those texts, I don't know who you are. I can't let you know who sent these text messages. So in future, I should probably specify that when I told people about this. Just include a name, sign off on it. Even a first name or your Instagram handle would be awesome. So include a name, sign off on it. So even a first name or your Instagram handle would be awesome. So I can also tag you on Instagram. But, yeah, just please sign off on it, because I'm not. I can't actually reply back to the SMS messages unless you include your, your number for me to message you back. That's just again. It's, it's a security thing for you through the third-party provider that I use for this service. Uh, so it's all, but if you share that with me, I I'll text you back. Totally, love to get to know you, love to connect with you. I'd love to get your feedback.

Dai Manuel:

Anyways, let's do question number one what's a simple way to start my day more positively? Now I paraphrase the question just so you know, to make it a bit more audience friendly. There was a bit more to this, but that was the gist of the question. So, while I'm going to take an answer from one of the other listeners which I mentioned earlier this episode, but start with a gratitude journal, maybe that might be something to just try and try for a couple of weeks. Right, spend just five minutes writing down three things you're grateful for. That simple practice can shift your mindset and set a positive tone for the day. Okay, just try it. Try for a couple of weeks and see what happens. See if it shifts that earliest perspective for you in the mornings and how it then pans out through the rest of the day. Question number two I received was how can I balance hard tasks with easier ones? Well, I'm glad this question came up.

Dai Manuel:

I was introduced to a technique called the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro Pomodoro so those that speak Italian. Obviously I might be butchering it, but I believe Pomodoro means tomato. Okay, so it's the tomato technique. But these Pomodoro timers I don't know if you've seen it. They look like a little tomato. It's got a little timer on it.

Dai Manuel:

Um, very popular as a kitchen appliance, you know, for timing things. Um, but many, many, many moons ago, someone decided I'm going to basically use this timer and and what I'll do is I'll work for 25 minutes on a challenging task, then I'll take a five minute break with an easier task. This method keeps you focused and prevents burnout. So just try it. So you get this little. I mean you don't need to get a timer or an egg timer or anything like that. I mean most of these computers nowadays they have the little apps that sit on the screen or you just grab your phone. But when you grab your phone, don't start scrolling right. Go to the timer, set the timer for 25 minutes on and remember to take a little break with an easier task Maybe you only do two sprints, you know, because that would cover 60 minutes and then take a break, give yourself, maybe a Pomodoro, another 25 minute where you actually get up, go for a walk, go get some water, go for a stretch, do something that's a little bit more self-care oriented with that little break, and then come back and maybe do a couple more rounds.

Dai Manuel:

Figure out what worked for you. All right, I like sprints, so I typically do about three in a row, so I might work like I go really hard for about 75 to 90 minutes, and what I mean by that is I'm hyper-focused on certain tasks that I've identified I need to get done in my day, and, of course, I do start the day with the easiest ones, because I like getting those off. I like man. Every time I get a check mark, I get a little dopamine hit, and I love my dopamine hits. Okay, I'm sure you do too, and it's a great way to create that momentum.

Dai Manuel:

Um, but uh, where I was going with that is I do these sort of three sprints. Right, it's throughout a day or a morning kind of thing, and it's like these 90 minute sprints, usually with at least a 30 minute break in between them, and that 30 minutes I do whatever I feel like. You know, I I give myself permission. I want to go check out, uh um, my Instagram, right, and check out the feed and reply back to some people. And you know, some people might qualify that as work, but for me that's sort of the fun stuff. So if I'm going to go for a quick walk, maybe I'll sit in the sun on the bench, I'll respond to some social media while I'm there for, say, 10 minutes.

Dai Manuel:

You know, again, it's sort of working that into your day and, you know, doing what fulfills you but also brings you joy, and those little breaks, great times to really leverage that stuff. But you got to find something that works for you and you got to be willing to experiment a lot to find something but also stick with it long enough. So you know, the issue is, most of us just don't know what we don't know, and so hopefully today I've introduced something to you. Maybe it's something new, or I've reminded you of something or I've shifted your perspective, just so you can try something different to see if this helps you. That's all for today's episode.

Dai Manuel:

My 2% Collective Warriors, remember finding a routine that works for you is the key to a productive and fulfilling day. Don't be afraid to experiment and adjust your morning strategies until you find what energizes and motivates you. Before we go, I'd love to get your feedback, stories, suggestions. What morning routines have worked for you? Which ones didn't work for you? Follow me on Instagram, facebook, tiktok and I don't mean this follow, I know that's just a term we throw there, but shoot me a message, shoot me a DM.

Dai Manuel:

Say, hey, I just heard that episode. Here's my morning routine. That's my invitation here, and tell you what the first three people that do that I'm going to send you a signed copy of my book, the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto. Only the first three, though. Remember what you're doing. Remember what you're doing and all the usual places and all the usual places. Stay updated and join in on the conversation.

Dai Manuel:

And if you enjoy this podcast, you know what I'd really love review, maybe a subscription. That would mean so much to me, honestly. It would mean so much. So go to apple itunes, wherever you're listening to this, and leave a review, please. I I really would appreciate it, especially if you're finding value in this, but the cool part is, when you do that, the algorithm takes note and it starts to show this to other people that might also benefit from not only the content but, of course, our community that we're co-creating together. Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey. I'm excited to share these next hundred episodes with you and beyond, and keep pushing your limits. Stay positive and always aim to improve. By how much every day? 2%, I'm Diamond Well, and you've been listening to the 2% Solution. Let's keep thriving together and I'll see you next time.

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