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“Eat that Frog”. Do your hardest thing first.

It’s lunchtime. You sit down to share a box of French fries with your friends. You chat and laugh. You feel good, relieved. That morning, you wrote the first paragraph of an assignment you’d been worried about. Instead of putting it off, you started it. You even jotted down a rough outline. Suddenly, the assignment doesn’t seem so hard after all. You did it. You ate a frog—you did your hardest thing first.

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do every morning is to eat a live frog, you can be pretty sure that’s the worst thing that’s is going to happen to you that day. Your “frog” is your hardest, most challenging task. It’s the one you want to forget about, but know you should do something about.

Lots and lots of students have found out that doing your hardest thing first is a fantastic approach to studying. It just feels good. For the rest of the day, you can do tasks that you find easier, and bask in the knowledge that you’ve been productive, that you’ve tackled a challenge, and it didn’t defeat you. Try it. Identify your hardest thing, whatever it is, and get it done as soon as you can in the day. See how much better you feel after that.

Study Skills Support is for undergraduate students studying in the Faculty of Arts.

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