I have noticed that - at least in software development - when I start with the most important and biggest task it often eats up the whole day. So it's not me eating the frog, it's the frog eating me. ;-)
The result often is, that sometimes neither the big task is finished nor a lot of other things so I end up with the same amount of things open and nothing was finished. Searching for application bugs (that often turn out to be problems of third-party-components and I sit there hours to search for workarounds) is for my job the best example here. But I imagine that for other jobs it can be preparation of presentations and so on.
What then happens when even the next day a lot of other smaller (or bigger) things are added to my task lists I either cannot focus well any more on the main big frog task because I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work. Indeed one big task seems to produce less stress than the same amount of work split in many small tasks.
And last but not least many small frogs or even the tadpole tasks can grow up and produce more difficulties when they don't get done in their early stages of growth. So it is better to eat the frogs when they are still tadpoles/polliwogs.
So what I do is:
- Start with the more predictable tasks.
I first pick the smaller tasks that are more predictable and more reliable to be finished within the estimated time. - To get 3 things off my list early in the morning is a good start into the day.
- Split big tasks over several days.
Big tasks and especially those that are difficult to estimate because quite unpredictable in amount of work really needed I do always split over several days. For instance a task estimated with 6 hours is split over two days each 4 hours. So there is another 2 hours spare. And further it is often better to do something else when facing a difficulty. After a pause and step back the problem gets clearer when looking at it again later.
- Schedule some time for the unpredictable interrupts.
I schedule some extra time a day for the small frogs that other people come to me with during the day.