By Wayne Turmel

We’re going to give you three pieces of business advice, and we want you to pick out the one that you probably haven’t heard lately, and probably ignore.

Eat that frog first.

Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Eat your lunch. (That’s it, no disgusting animals involved, just eat your lunch.)

If you read business books, you’re probably familiar with the first two expressions. “Eating the frog first” comes from Brian Tracy’s best-selling book, Eat that Frog- 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating. The seemingly bizarre title actually comes from a quote attributed to Mark Twain: “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, and if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” This is actually pretty good advice. If you’ve been putting off doing something, just suck it up and do it. After all, everything else you do all day will be pleasant by comparison.

The second advice is also good. It stems from an old joke: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (We said it’s old, not hilarious.) This is also important advice when the job at hand seems too overwhelming and you just freeze at the notion of getting started.

But the third piece of advice? You’re more likely to hear that from your mother rather than some high-priced consultant. That doesn’t mean it’s not important. People who work from home often report that they eat where they work (at their desk or computer) if they take the time to eat at all. But lunch is important for a couple of reasons:

  • Keeping your body properly fueled (which means eating good food that probably doesn’t come in styrofoam) is critical to avoiding late-afternoon energy failure. Healthy eating helps you stay focused, awake, and productive.
  • Giving yourself time to eat properly is a sign of good time-management. If you’re consistently too busy to eat during the day, you may not be as productive as you think you are.
  • Taking a proper break mid-day helps you avoid other distractions. If you think of the time-wasting activities that eat at your day, like checking your Fantasy Football scores or Facebook updates, having a regularly scheduled time where you can attend to them guilt-free will help you avoid them during work hours.
  • Getting away from your desk for short breaks actually makes you more productive. You don’t even have to eat if you don’t want to, but get up, walk, pet the dog or do something that doesn’t involve sitting in front of your computer trying not to get mayonnaise on your keyboard.

So your mom may not have been a fancy-schmancy consultant. But her advice is still good. In between the amphibians and the pachyderms, eat your darned lunch—just not at your desk.

For more productivity tips, check out Maximizing Your Productivity as a Remote Employee.


Wayne Turmel--The Remote Leadership Institute

Wayne Turmel
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager

Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in

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