Mark Twain once said that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad.

By Steve Moran

Several years ago I came across an article at Fast Company titled something like Eat The Frog First. The article was about what successful people do during the first hour of their day each morning. I confess that some of these things I am good at and some not so good.

Here is the short form version:

  1. Don’t check your email in the first hour of the day (and don’t cheat by checking it at home before getting to work) — The problem with checking email first thing in the morning is that email always brings with it things that need to be done, which then distracts you from the less urgent but often more important things that need to be done.

  2. Be aware of, and grateful for, what you have — It is really important to remember the blessings. It becomes easy to be bogged down with challenges, even good ones, and forget all the goodness in your life.

  3. Do the really difficult stuff first — We all have a tendency to put off the tough stuff. When we tackle it first, the rest of the day will seem like a breeze.

  4. Choose your frog and write it down — Your frogs are the biggest problems. When you write them down and define what they are, they become much easier to manage.

  5. Ask yourself if you are doing what you want to do — This seems so simple but is so important. As a leader you need to be passionate about what you are doing. If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself to fix this. Change companies, change jobs, reinvent your job.

  6. Work on Customer Service — In the case of senior living this is such a cool, ripe opportunity. It means residents, team members, family members, referral sources and even vendors. If customer service were a daily priority for every leader, it is mind blowing to think what senior living might look like.

I think by far and away the most difficult is to do the hard stuff first. Everyone . . . almost everyone . . . has this tendency to put off the hard stuff, and yet your ability to deal with hard stuff is what ultimately makes you a great leader.

An earlier version of this story was first published at Senior Housing Forum in October 2012.