Eat the Frog: How to Tackle Your Least-Favorite Tasks

Frogs. They’re everywhere. As a matter of fact, I’m sure frogs interrupt your day every day. A frog is a big, ugly task—one you would rather not have to face. So you let it sit there on your desk, staring you down. Occasionally it ribbits, waiting for you to do something. It hops up and down to get your attention. You can always see it just out of the corner of your eye. It’s wart-covered and slimy. And it keeps growing. That frog gets bigger and bigger until he makes it hard for you to concentrate on anything else you need to do.

You may want to ignore the frogs in your life, but this never works. Eventually you’ll have to deal with them. You can’t escape those tasks that are unpleasant but necessary. When you try, certain consequences will happen every time:

  • Your energy will be zapped. That frog on your desk will suck away your energy, diverting it from every other task you need to accomplish. The other things you need to do will be harder to accomplish because so much of your energy will be taken up by worrying about and gearing up for the unpleasant task you know you need to complete.
  • You will be distracted. Your thoughts will constantly go back to that frog. You will be so preoccupied, knowing you have to tackle the tough task ahead of you, that your concentration will be pulled from the work you are currently doing.
  • The frog will grow. Our fears always grow when we refuse to face them head-on. Procrastination makes every unpleasant task worse than it should be. When we delay we lose perspective, and that frog starts to get bigger and bigger.

The Solution

There is only one solution for dealing with the frogs in your life: eat them. Yes, you’ve read that correctly! What does it mean to eat the frog? Simply this: attack it early. Conquer it. Get that thing done and off your desk, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Then your time and energy will be freed up to handle tasks that are equally important but much more pleasant. Renegade pastors know that eating frogs is never fun, but it’s one of the best time management tools that exists.

The thought of eating ugly, slimy frogs is disgusting, right? Handling some of the tasks that ministry throws at you can be truly disgusting. But being proactive and facing them head on is the only answer. Those difficult tasks seldom, if ever, hop away on their own. Too often, in fact, if you leave them undone they’ll get worse, until they morph into true crises. When you eat the frog there may be a moment of unpleasantness, but then it’s over and you can move on.

How to Eat a Frog

There are certain things you can do to make frog-eating a slightly better experience. You might even find that you come to enjoy tackling unpleasant tasks. Keep these tips in mind:

​Be honest about which tasks are unpleasant. You generally know ahead of time if something is going to be particularly difficult. Does it involve difficult people? Is it something you are unskilled or inexperienced in? Will it force you outside your comfort zone? All of these things make an activity a frog. Acknowledge that reality.

Eat the frog early. Don’t let it sit on your desk all day, watching your every move. Get rid of it before it grows. Make eating frogs the first thing you do in the morning. Frog meat is the breakfast of champions.

Frog meat is the breakfast of champions. Click To Tweet

Take small bites, if needed. Sometimes a task becomes a frog simply because it is so big. When you cut it down into smaller pieces, it may not be so daunting.

Remember the benefits of eating frogs. Think about the results of the unpleasant task. Will you get a difficult staff member on board with the vision of the church? Will you achieve greater clarity in a difficult area of ministry? Will a particular church member move from being skeptical about your leadership to becoming a fan? Often, those difficult tasks reap big rewards. Look past the short-term pain to see the long-term benefit.

What Eating Frogs Will Do For You

Tackling unpleasant tasks early, before they become disasters, is an essential time management skill. You will find that doing so has a tremendous impact on you personally, as well as on your ministry. Here are a few of the things you can expect when you develop the habit of eating frogs:

  • Your focus will improve. When you no longer have that nasty task hanging over your head, you will be able to concentrate more fully on the other things you need to do.
  • Your energy will skyrocket. With improved focus comes enhanced energy. When dread isn’t weighing you down, your energy reserves are freed up for other tasks at hand.
  • Your confidence will grow. The more difficult things you tackle, the more confidence you will have. And the more confidence you have, the better you will be at tackling difficult things.
  • Your faith will grow. When you face tasks that require you to fully use the gifts and talents God has given you, you’ll find that God has equipped you with everything you need to accomplish his purpose for your life.
  • Your reputation as a leader will grow. When people see that you are willing to face and handle difficult things, they will respect you more. They’ll know you can be trusted and followed.

Try to view those frogs that hop into your office as opportunities rather than obstacles. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to become the person and the pastor God has called you to be. Renegade pastors learn to love eating frogs, because they know that each frog is a stepping stone to greater accomplishment and effectiveness. So don’t be afraid of the frogs. Get out your fork and take a bite.

– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman

The above excerpt is from pgs. 89-91 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Time Management. 

Time is your most important God-given resource no matter how hard you work, you can’t make a day last longer than twenty-four hours. By mastering a set of proven time-management principles, you can regain control of your life. It is possible to manage your time so that you can stay on top of the never-ending demands of being a pastor, nurture your congregation, spend quality time with your family, and take care of your physical and emotional needs. Become the pastor God has called you to be.

P.S. – Click here to grab your copy from Amazon today!

Your partner in ministry,


Share This Post

About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyLeadership