In his book, Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy recommends that you learn to focus on the most challenging task—the frog—first thing in the morning. Take on the “needle-moving” projects before you do anything else. I’d like to propose a different strategy: Eat the passion fruit! In other words, start the day by tackling a project about which you feel an enormous amount of passion.
Let me explain why.
If you eat the frog first, you may make significant progress on projects or challenging tasks that you’ve been avoiding. You also will feel a high degree of satisfaction and accomplishment. Plus, you’ll move forward toward your goals. However, your most important projects—the ones that are personally meaningful to you—may get pushed aside in the process.
The title of Tracy’s book originates from an old saying: If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. I don’t know about you, but knowing I have to tackle the worst task first thing in the morning does not generate enthusiasm within me for the day.
If you know you when you wake up you will spend time on a passion project—like the book you want to write—you feel excited and full of anticipation for the day. I bet that project will also move the needle in the right direction as well.
You can then move on to a difficult task second. And you’ll feel so productive and excited about the progress you’ve made.
I’ve been known to complain about my passion projects simmering on the back burner. When I got into the office, I had coaching clients, customer issues, blog posts, and emails to address, and these felt like priorities. My new book or book proposal and articles for publications remained undone and at the bottom of the to-do list. Yet, I wanted to take on these tasks and knew doing so would help my career move forward.
Recently, I began scheduling time for these passion projects first thing in the morning. I get up early and spend the first block of my work day focused on making at least a little progress on them.
You may be procrastinating on projects you know can help your writing career. For some reason, you aren’t quite as excited about them. Tackle these second or immediately after your passion project. If you know you’ll complete something no matter what, block time to tackle it later in the day.
For example, I know I won’t miss a scheduled blog post deadline. So, even if I start on that post at 10 p.m., it will get published before my readers wake up in the morning. I used to make the post my priority; I worked on it first. But I’d dawdle and get distracted, and I’d end up not having time to work on something more important to me. Now, I write blog posts after I work on my passion project. I accomplish more than in the past, and I feel better about and have more energy for all the work I do.
I’d like you to do the same with your passion projects, so your career begins to move forward faster.
How to Complete Nonfiction Writing Prompt #51
To complete this writing prompt, follow these three steps:
- Block out time on your calendar and in your schedule first thing in the morning to work on a project you love. Choose a project you feel passionate about and know will help you achieve your goals and dreams or fulfill your purpose. (Also block time right after that to work on a project or task that you know you need to do but haven’t wanted to begin or finish.)
- Chunk your project down into tasks you can complete in 30 to 60 minutes if that is all the time you can schedule. (Break your project into larger tasks if you have a larger block of time.) These small chunks are like mini-projects that comprise the larger one. Complete one per day.
- Work on your passion project in the block of time you schedule in the morning. Get something done. Write one section of a chapter. Research a topic. Mind-map an article.
- Work on a more-challenging project as soon as you finish your passion project. By eating the passion fruit first, you’ll have the energy and self-confidence to eat the frog next.
If you want to learn more about how to accomplish your writing goals, join the Nonfiction Writers’ University (NFWU). The next NFWU event, which takes place on August 16, features me, Nina Amir, discussing how to become a high-performing writer and author. Previous NFWU member challenges have included detailed instructions and tips on how to conduct interviews and write magazine articles and query letters. These homework assignments, as well as related events, are archived in the NFWU for members to access at any time. To find out more about or join the NFWU, click here.
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