Team Frog or Team Candy?

Alexis Haselberger
3 min readMar 18, 2024

Image by Alexis Haselberger

What the heck am I talking about?

Well, eating the frog is the idea that you should start each day with the most onerous task to just get it out of the way.

The idea is that if you have to eat a frog today, it’s better to just eat it first thing in the morning vs fretting all day about eating the frog, and still having to eat it at 6 pm.

When I phrase it like that, I bet you’re thinking, well, of course, eating the frog first thing makes the most sense!

And for many, many people, eating the frog does make the most sense.

It makes your day go so much more smoothly.

Once you’ve got that frog out of the way, it’s smooth sailing, right?

But what if it isn’t?

What if your aversion to the frog is so strong, that the only thing that can get you to eat the frog is that hard deadline at the end of the day?

What if, instead, you start your day with candy?

Surely, you want the candy, right? That sounds good!

The “candy” of your workload are those quick, easy tasks that you can get off your plate and feel good about.

And some people need to prime that “dopamine pump” with the candy to build up the momentum they require to eat that frog.

For some, the frog goes down a bit (or a LOT) easier if it’s sugar-coated.

Just like Mary Poppins said, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”.

But there’s a bit of a danger with the candy. It’s small, there’s a lot of it, and it’s easy to just keep going back.

So if you need that candy to lay the groundwork for a successful day by starting with candy, you might want to put some boundaries around it.

Perhaps you can think of it as a time-limited, all-you-can-eat buffet. You get an hour to eat all the candy (aka, do as many of those small tasks that prime that dopamine pump) you can, before you move on to the bigger stuff, the scarier stuff, the frogs.

So, which is better? To eat the candy or the frog first?

Well, it’s not up to me to decide for you.

It’s up to you to experiment with what works better for you.

And at this point, you might be thinking: “Well, I start the day with email and Slack. What do you think of that?”

And here’s what I think: Don’t.

Email and Slack are worse options than the frog OR the candy.

Emails and Slack are “other people’s priorities”. Sometimes they align with yours, but they might just throw you off course for the entire day.

And they’re endless; they just keep coming.

So whatever you choose, frog or candy, do that in the first non-meeting work hour of your day and THEN get to your messages.

I promise you that whether you answer folks at 9am or 10am won’t make a lick of difference to them, but you’ll get SO MUCH done in that first hour that it’ll make a world of difference to you, your day, and your stress.

So try it out, and let me know.

Are you Team Frog or Team Candy?

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Originally published at on March 18, 2024.