Do you struggle with procrastination? Do you want to work smarter, not harder? In “Eat That Frog!”, Brian Tracy teaches 21 winning strategies for prioritizing tasks and getting the big stuff done in less time. In this book review, you’ll learn how you can double your productivity simply by planning your day and tackling your biggest hurdle first.
Do the tough tasks first to have more fun later.
READ THIS BOOK REVIEW IF YOU:
- Procrastinate on important tasks
- Want a better work-life balance
- Have too much to do and too little time
Table of Contents
- Set the Table
- Plan Every Day in Advance
- Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
- Consider the Consequences
- Use the Abcde Method Continually
- Focus on Key Result Areas
- Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
- Identify Your Key Constraints and Put the Pressure on Yourself
- Motivate Yourself Into Action
- Technology Is a Terrible Master, and a Wonderful Servant
- Focus Your Attention
- Slice and Dice the Task
- Create Large Chunks of Time
- Develop a Sense of Urgency
- Single Handle Every Task
- About Brian Tracy
We all have our frogs – important tasks that we’ve put off for whatever reason. The key to success is to eat your frogs quickly, completely and with focused determination. So says Brian Tracy, the master of hard-nosed time management. You’ll find no touchy-feely personal development pabulum here. The message of this book: Action leads to accomplishment. With that simple rule in mind, Tracy rolls out tools and techniques that will get you off your backside and into motion. While uneager to take up noshing on amphibians (well, maybe just the legs, in plenty of garlic butter), strongly recommends this book to anyone caught in the swamp of procrastination.
- If you want to gain control of your life, change the way you work.
- Action is the key to accomplishment.
- People who do better do things differently. They do the right things right.
- Eating the frog means identifying your most important task and tackling it with single-minded focus until it is completed.
- Launch directly into your most important tasks.
- Your ability to focus on your most important task will determine your success.
- People fail because they aren’t absolutely clear about their goals.
- The best rule for success is to think on paper. Write down your goals.
- Every night, make a list of what you want to accomplish the next day. Have a master list, a monthly list, a weekly list and a daily list.
- Identify the one skill that, if you developed it, would have the biggest impact on your career success.
There have never been more opportunities for success than there are today. The options are endless, and unless you carefully prioritize your tasks, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and procrastinate.
Think about this: If you were to begin each day by eating a frog, you could go through the rest of the day with the relief that the worst part is behind you. Your biggest task of each new day is your “frog.” This task will most likely have considerable consequences and a lasting impact on your future. This is also the one you are most likely to procrastinate on — unless you are intentional about your actions.
Eat that frog first.
When you learn to overcome the habit of procrastination by eating that frog, you open yourself to a whole new world of opportunity and success.
Set the Table
Clear goals are directly related to productivity. People often procrastinate because they have vague goals: They aren’t sure what they should be doing, how they should go about it, or why it’s important. Clarity, on the other hand, is motivating.
Writing your goals is especially powerful because it makes your plans tangible.
Consider these seven steps for understanding and accomplishing your goals:
- Decide exactly what you want or need to accomplish. If it’s a task that’s been delegated to you, discuss with your superior what’s required and which aspects take priority.
- Write your goal(s) down. This is the fastest way to gain clarity and remove any doubts about what you need to do.
- Set a deadline. Without an end in mind, there will be no urgency in your work and it will be extremely easy to procrastinate.
- Make a list of every step required to accomplish your goal. You will have a better understanding of what the entire process entails when you see each portion laid out.
- Formulate a plan based on the list. Prioritize the tasks and understand how they relate to one another.
- Take action immediately. Even if your first drafts are rough, it’s better to start and edit than to never start at all.
- Commit to doing a least one thing each day. Each accomplishment, no matter how small, should move you toward your final goal. If necessary, add it to your daily calendar.
These steps give you a clear understanding of what you’re doing and why. The more you see yourself accomplishing, the more motivated you will be to keep moving toward the final goal.
Plan Every Day in Advance
If you want to eat your biggest frog, it’s essential to plan ahead. Breaking down your goals into step-by-step tasks makes it easier to get started. Though it’s an initial investment of time, it will save you time down the line. Just think: Stopping for directions may take 10 minutes, but plowing ahead without a map could cost you hours in the long run.
Just 10 minutes of planning before your work day is shown to save you up to two hours of time that would otherwise be wasted. Also, it’s extremely helpful to make a list the night before because it gives your subconscious a chance to mull things over. Multiple lists that connect overarching goals to more granular tasks are even better.
Start with one main list that encompasses everything you want to do. There is no time constrictions on this list; just get it all down on paper. Next, move to your monthly list. Write down everything you need to achieve in the next month. After this, you can plan for the coming week with an even smaller list. Finally, prepare a list for each individual day. All of these lists will work together to give you a sense of cohesion while also making your tasks attainable.
Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
The rule of 80/20 says that things are typically divided into two categories: the “vital few” (the top 20%) and the “trivial many” (the remaining 80%). This rule can be applied to many scenarios, but in regards to time and task management, understand that your most valuable tasks (your “frogs”) will generally only comprise about 20% of your to-do list.
Even though these tasks are harder to start and might be more intimidating, they statistically take the same amount of time as less-important ones. What’s more, the “trivial many” tasks tend to multiply, meaning you will always be working but never really getting anything done.
Commit to starting every day with the vital tasks and you will see your productivity, and your sense of accomplishment, soar.
Consider the Consequences
If all tasks are either the “vital few” or the “trivial many,” how do you decide which category to place each item on our to-do list?
Consequences are a key indicator of the importance of a task. Ask yourself, “What will happen if I don’t get this done?” If completing the task has significant positive (or negative!) consequences in the future, it’s a big frog.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is the ability to see long-term.
Constantly ask yourself three key questions:
- What are my most important tasks?
- What can only I do — and if done well, will make a big difference?
- What is the best use of my time at this very moment?
Honest answers to these questions will reveal which tasks are important and which can wait or be delegated.
Use the Abcde Method Continually
Plan your day and clarify your priorities and posteriorities with the “ABCDE Method.” This is a tool so versatile that anyone from a CEO to a file-clerk can utilize it and see immediate results.
The first step is make your to-do list for the day. Write down all of the tasks that are on your plate. Next, begin assigning the letters A, B, C, D, or E to each item before you start on the tasks.
- A. The task that you must do. This item has big consequences and cannot wait. If you have several “A” tasks, divide those further still into “A-1,” “A-2,” and so on. “A-1” is the biggest frog. Example: Creating a presentation for your upcoming client meeting.
- B. The task that you should do. It has consequences, but they are mild and not nearly as motivating as the consequences for task “A.” Example: Answering phone calls, texts, or emails.
- C. The tasks that would be alright to do but don’t carry do-or-die consequences. Example: Having lunch with your coworker.
- D. The tasks that you should delegate to others. If a task can be carried out by someone else, pass it along so you can focus on more valuable accomplishments. Example: Busy-work like filing or shredding documents.
- E. These tasks could be removed from your list. Their completion (or elimination) has no impact on your life or work. These kinds of tasks are often done out of habit or personal enjoyment. Example: Printing documents that are now stored on a company server.
The key is to never move to the next letter until you have completed the previous one. Following this rule will strengthen your willpower and increase your selfrespect (and, of course, make sure you get the most important tasks done).
Focus on Key Result Areas
No matter what you do for a living, you’ve been hired to obtain certain results. If you’re a janitor, one of your results should be a clean floor. If you’re a cook, one of your results should be delicious food that brings customers back.
Most roles can be broken down into roughly five key result areas. Clarify the key result areas in your specific role, because otherwise you won’t be able to adequately perform and accomplish goals.
Once you are clear on these areas, do a self-evaluation: Grade yourself in each key area so you can clearly see where you excel and where you should improve.
You probably already knew your weak areas before you assigned the grade and you may find yourself avoiding those tasks. After all, no one likes to dwell on their own weaknesses. But remember: You’re only as good as your weakest area.
Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
Before starting on any task, make sure you’ve prepared your environment, tools, and required information. Only “A” task items should be the only things in your field of vision.
It’s also important that this space be comfortable. You’ll be less likely to wander away to grab a cookie, some coffee, and catch a few minutes of the news if your work space is inviting.
Your computer, pens, paper, calculator, and anything else you might need should be within reach so that you don’t have to wander around to find them. Minimize or eliminate any need to leave the work area from the outset.
Then start right away. Don’t waste time worrying about perfection — it’s best to get started and make corrections later. Learn from your mistakes in future iterations of the project or on other projects.
Identify Your Key Constraints and Put the Pressure on Yourself
What’s standing between where you are and where you want to be? Before starting important tasks, identify that constraint and alleviate it so that you can be productive.
Sometimes constraints are external, for example, the project lacks resources. But internal constraints are generally what hold you back from excelling. Maybe you feel stressed or inadequate, or perhaps you’re worn out from lack of rest. Successful people are willing to take responsibility for their internal limiting factors and work to improve them, rather than excuse them. Often, studying yourself to find the limiting factor is your “A” task, because it sets the pace for the entire project.
Self-motivation is another big key to success. Don’t wait for someone else to show up and motivate you.
Leaders are able to work without supervision. They manage themselves by setting the standards and deadlines and by applying continual inward pressure. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, wait to be instructed. They rely on someone else to pressure them before they get to work.
Become your own role model and hold yourself to a higher standard than others would hold you. Try harder and work better to build up your own reputation within yourself. You will find your self-esteem growing as you do your best and accomplish goals through your own motivation.
Motivate Yourself Into Action
Just as you are in charge of pressuring yourself into action, you are also responsible for motivating yourself to excel. If you want to be a top performer, you must provide your own encouragement.
Being your own critic doesn’t mean that you continually berate yourself. It means that you hold yourself to a high standard and apply the internal pressure to do your best.
And as your own cheerleader, strive to remain positive at all times. Talk to yourself in encouraging and uplifting ways. Remind yourself how great you are — even if you don’t believe it at first. Your self-esteem will begin to grow through positive affirmation.
Optimists find more success in life and business than pessimists. Commit to these four optimistic behaviors every day:
- Look for the good in the bad: What is the positive aspect of each situation?
- Find the lesson in tough situations: You can learn and grow from setbacks.
- Seek the solution to problems: Do not blame or escape; focus on the action you can take.
- Constantly focus on your goals: Be future-oriented.
No matter the circumstances around you, what other people say, or how you feel, you have the ability to choose your attitude. By combining a positive opinion of yourself with a focus on your goals, you will be excited to get started on tasks right away and do them well.
Technology Is a Terrible Master, and a Wonderful Servant
Technology can be highly useful, but it becomes a drain on our productivity, health, and happiness if we allow it to control us. Make technology work for you; do not work for technology.
In order to remain focused, productive, and clear-headed, it’s wise to unplug from technology regularly. Turn your phone off if it’s distracting you. Important callers will leave a voicemail that you can return later. Schedule a few times during the day to intentionally check your email instead of responding to every new message right away. Additionally, be selective about which messages need a response at all. Sort all communication into urgent and non-urgent: category “A” and “B.” Keep your goals in mind when deciding which messages deserve your time.
Tools like digital calendars and planners help you to remain organized. When shared with coworkers, they also help to show people when you do or do not have time for meetings or trivial work. If you schedule blocks of time on your calendar for task-completion, people will see your full schedule and be less likely to drain your time with unimportant matters.
As you begin working for the day, prepare your technology just like you prepare your work space. Close all tabs and programs that are not necessary for your task, and disable audible and visual alerts. This allows you to check your apps and messages on your own time rather than becoming distracted constantly.
Technology can also be a source of motivation and accountability if you are intentional about it. When posting to social media, post about your goals and your progress. When followers “like” or comment, it can be highly encouraging. Similarly, if your follows are aware of your goals, you will be more likely to make progress because they will hold you accountable.
The key is to make technology your servant, not your master.
Focus Your Attention
Focused attention is essential for efficient, positive results. Every time you break concentration to check a notification, whether it’s an email or a text message, it takes many precious minutes to focus back on your task and regain the level of absorption you had before the distraction. Your future may literally depend on your ability to put your phone down and get focused.
Many people believe that they can multitask efficiently, but the truth is that humans are only able to focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is actually just shifting your attention back and forth between different agendas, losing valuable time and quality. You are much more likely to make mistakes when your attention is constantly swinging around every time you hear a beep or a buzz.
Many successful people have begun to adopt three habits regarding checking email in order to remain focused on their priorities:
- Don’t check your email when you wake up: It gives you a dose of dopamine but distracts you from eating your frogs.
- When you have to check your emails, make it fast: Answer the urgent messages and then exit the program before you waste time on the trivial many.
- Plan to check your email twice a day: Schedule blocks of time specifically for this purpose — ideally after you’ve already accomplished urgent tasks.
Because email is an unavoidable part of most jobs, it’s easy to use it for procrastination under the guise of “work.” Be honest with yourself about which messages require action and which are simply distractions.
Slice and Dice the Task
There are two methods that allow you to get started, build momentum, and find the motivation to complete a large task or goal.
The first is called the “salami slice.” In this method, you should write out every step and detail of the project and then divide it into “slices” — small portions that are attainable and unintimidating. Just as you would eat a whole salami one slice at a time, you can complete the project one small portion at a time.
The other method is called the “Swiss cheese” method. You’re setting aside chunks of time in which you will work on the project uninterrupted. It could be a three-hour period or a 10-minute period; you can start small as long as you’re working diligently during the designated time slot. When the timer goes off, do something else for a little while before returning to it.
Getting things done is energizing. By starting with small, manageable methods, you may just become addicted to the sense of accomplishment.
Create Large Chunks of Time
Your big, consequential “A” tasks usually require longer periods of unbroken concentration, even if they don’t necessarily take more overall time than trivial tasks. Working on a large presentation in 10-minute chunks probably won’t build the momentum you need to get it done on time.
Develop the habit of setting aside larger blocks of time to dedicate to your biggest goals. When you plan your day the night before, schedule these large chunks of time as if they were important meetings. You must have the discipline to follow through, so treat each time slot as if it were an appointment with your biggest client.
During these time periods, you should be free from all distractions so that you can focus your attention wholeheartedly on your work.
Develop a Sense of Urgency
Successful people are action-oriented, and action-oriented people are impressive because of their ability to get large amounts of work done in the same amount of time that passive people are still thinking about where they should start.
How do action-oriented people get so much done? Generally, they’re good at tapping into a highly productive mental state called “flow.” This happens when you discipline yourself to get to work, and you work hard and continuously. These periods of time are energizing and motivating; you feel clarity on what you should do, and find it easy to get things done accurately.
It’s within these states of “flow” that we’re often our most creative. Solutions that never would have occurred to us before come pouring out, providing even more motivation and speed.
Having a sense of urgency is a great way to trigger a state of flow. Urgency is like racing against your own clock: you want to get started on tasks right away and finish them quickly. Urgency sparks action; instead of talking about what you are going to do, you attack it with fervor.
By becoming action-oriented and doing tasks with urgency, your performance will stand out for its speed and quality. You’ll become a valuable asset.
Single Handle Every Task
If you want to be successful and accomplish your goals, understand the importance of single-minded focus. Studies have shown then when you focus your undivided attention to a task, the time needed to complete it is cut in half.
Think about that — half of the time. Would you rather write your novel in six weeks or 12? The novel is the same either way, but single-minded focus saves your precious time for other tasks or priorities.
Now ask yourself if those emails or texts are worth doubling your time commitment.
Single-minded focus takes an incredible amount of discipline. When you choose to do something you should do, but don’t necessarily want to do, you are showing self-discipline. The good news is that discipline can be developed like any other skill: through practice. The more you persist in a task until it’s completion, the stronger your self-discipline becomes.
Plan ahead, identify your biggest task, get started right away, and focus singlemindedly until that task is completely finished. Discipline yourself to eat that frog before you do anything else.
“It is the quality of time at work that counts and the quantity of time at home that matters.” – Brian Tracy
To increase the quality of your work-time, you need to eat more ‘frogs’.
“Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.” – Brian Tracy
Eating your biggest frogs allows you to get more done in less time so that you can spend more face time with the people you care about most, doing the things that give you the most joy.
How to Find Your Biggest Frog
Consider the Consequences
We all take on roles in our professional lives, and those roles require a series of key results to survive and thrive.
“The key result areas of management are planning, organising, staffing, delegating, supervising, measuring, and reporting. These are the areas in which a manager must get results to succeed in his or her area of responsibility. A weakness in any one of these areas can lead to under-achievement and failure as a manager.” – Brian Tracy
What are the key result areas of your current role? Hint: Your key results are the reason you’re on the payroll (if you’re an employee) or the reason you’re in business (if you’re an entrepreneur).
Visualize the long-term consequences of doing nothing on your work to-do list for an entire week. Then circle the five items, if left undone, that would have the greatest long-term impact on your key results areas.
“The potential consequences of any task or activity are the key determinants of how important a task really is to you and to your company. This way of evaluating the significance of a task is how you determine what your next frog really is.” – Brian Tracy
“The mark of the superior thinker is his or her ability to accurately predict the consequences of doing or not doing something.” – Brian Tracy
Find Your Greatest Contribution
Among the things that you’ve identified to have long-term consequences on your key result areas, ask yourself:
What ONE task could I do ALL day, that would contribute the greatest value to my company?
Brian Tracy says that if you ask yourself that question three times, the three tasks you come up with will be 90% of the contribution you can provide your company.
“Perhaps the most important WORD in the world of work is contribution. Your rewards, both financial and emotional, will always be in direct proportion to your results, to the value of your contribution.” – Brian Tracy
“Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90 percent of your contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else. You will then have more time for your family and personal life.” – Brian Tracy
Do the Worst First
Start with the task you’ve most been avoiding. Do the worst first.
By doing the worst first, you’ll receive the greatest sense of relief and satisfaction upon completing it, giving you the confidence you eat more frogs.
“Eat the biggest and ugliest frogs before anything else.” – Brian Tracy
“Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” – Brian Tracy
How to Eat That Frog
The best way to eat a big ugly frog is to focus (solely) on the next bite.
“One of the best ways to eat a large frog is for you to take it one bite at a time…There is an old saying that ‘by the yard it’s hard; but inch by inch, anything’s a cinch!’” – Brian Tracy
I focus solely on the next bite by asking myself: “What initial result can I achieve in the next 10 minutes to get me moving in the right direction?”
“Your job is to go as far as you can see. You will then see far enough to go further. To accomplish a great task, you must step out in faith and have complete confidence that your next step will soon become clear to you.” – Brian Tracy
“You cannot eat every tadpole and frog in the pond, but you can eat the biggest and ugliest one, and that will be enough, at least for the time being.” – Brian Tracy
Amphibian on Toast
If you eat a live frog each morning you will know that you have already experienced the worst thing that will happen to you that day. You probably have frogs hidden on your desk and on your to-do lists. Your frogs are the tasks that you know are priorities, but that you’ve put on the back burner for whatever reason. It’s time to learn how to snack on those difficult problems. The good news is — it’s a high-protein diet.
“An average person who develops the habit of setting clear priorities and getting important tasks completed quickly will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but gets very little done.”
OK, you don’t need to eat real frogs to be a success in business. But you do need to tackle critical projects and problems creatively and effectively. Here’s a plain and simple truth: The ability to focus in a single-minded fashion to accomplish the most important task before you is the prime determinant of your success. It’s that clear. The complication comes in, however, when you lack clarity about your true goals and objectives.
“The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success.”
Lack of clarity can be a killer, because it impairs action, and action is the secret to success. Like everyone, you probably feel overwhelmed at times with too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Select the most important challenge — that big, old frog slobbering in your in-basket — and address it effectively. Successful people launch directly without hesitation into the major task that confronts them at any point in the day.
“Simply put, some people are doing better than others because they do certain things differently and they do the right things right.”
How do you develop this clarity? Well, it’s impossible without developing good work habits. Indeed, about 95% of your success in life will depend on the habits you cultivate. Good habits will be your best friends and bad ones will be your worst enemies.
Winning is a Habit
You require three qualities to develop successful habits. You will need to make choices. You will need discipline and you will need determination. For example, one essential habit is learning to think on paper.
“The key to success is action.”
Would you be surprised to learn that only about 3% of adults have bothered to put their goals on paper?
Here’s how you can get what you want out of life:
- Decide precisely what you want.
- Write this goal down.
- Set a deadline by which you plan to achieve it.
- List what you will need to do to achieve your goal.
- Turn the list into a plan. Organize it by priority and sequence.
- Take action immediately. Do anything, but don’t hesitate.
- Promise yourself to make some small step toward your goal each and every day.
“You can get control of your time and your life only by changing the way you think, work and deal with the never-ending river of responsibilities that flows over you each day.”
After that, it’s mostly a matter of continuing to push forward until you attain your goal. While acting is better than procrastinating, action without planning leads to failure and disappointment, so learn to plan daily.
Always work from a list. Draft your list the night before work so your subconscious mind will work on it all night long while you sleep. Create different lists for different purposes. Have a master list. Create a list for the coming month at the end of each month, make a weekly list in advance for the coming week and, of course, you need a daily list.
“Many people confuse activity with accomplishment.”
Remember the 10/90 rule: investing 10% of your time in planning before beginning a project will help you use the other 90% of the time more effectively.
Time-Management, Pareto Style
In 1895, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto realized that 20% of people made 80% of the money, while 80% of the people had little money. He soon discovered that this ratio applied to all economic activity. The top 20% of your activities will generate 80% of your profits. Twenty percent of your customers will account for 80% of your sales. This pervasive fact is now known as Pareto’s Rule. The rule means that if you have a to-do list of 10 items, two of those items will generate 80% of the return you get from your entire list. Now, when you look at your list, you will be tempted, of course, to clear up a few small things first so you can check them off and have a sense of accomplishment. However, those items may not be significant to your economic activity. And that’s a problem.
“Clarity is the most important concept in personal productivity.”
What to do? Well, remember that the hardest part of any task is getting started. Time management is really just taking control of the sequence of events that affect your life. Effective people discipline themselves to address the most important task first, always. That is, they discipline themselves to eat that frog. Ummmmmmmm, good!
To succeed, think for the long term. Before you begin a project, ask yourself, “What is the consequence of not doing this task?” Be willing to delay short-term gratification in order to achieve better long-term results. Of course, reconsider if taking on a task causes you more trouble in the long run. As motivational speaker Dennis Waitley puts it, “Failures do what is tension-relieving while winners do what is goal-achieving.” Keep in mind, the root word for motivation is motive. To succeed, you must give yourself a motive for the choices you make.
The ABCs of Success
Is success really as simple as ABC? Well, no. You have to add a “D” and “E” as well. Use the ABCDE method as a powerful tool for establishing your daily priorities.
“Clearly written goals have a wonderful effect on your thinking. They motivate you and galvanize you into action.”
Here’s how it works:
- Make your list.
- Place an A, B, C, D or E before each item on that list.
- Complete the tasks in alphabetical order.
An “A” task is one that you must do as soon as possible or face serious consequences. “B” items are tasks you should do, but ones that carry mild consequences. A “C” task would be nice to do, but carries absolutely no consequences at all. A “D” task is something you can delegate to someone else, so your goal is to delegate all of them to free your time for things only you can do. An “E” task is one you can eliminate altogether. It may have seemed important once, but it isn’t any more. Yes, you may have more than one “A” task. That’s fine. Simply number them sequentially…A-1, A-2, A-3 and so forth. Practice the ABCDE method daily, and you will be surprised by its positive impact on your work life.
Key Result Areas
To become more effective, ask yourself why you’re on the payroll. Most people aren’t sure. Obviously, you have been hired to get results. Most jobs have key results, specific things that must be done. To improve your performance, identify your job’s key result areas. Here, for example, are the key result areas for a salesperson at a typical organization:
- Making presentations.
- Closing business.
- Sales service for existing accounts.
- Administrative duties and paperwork.
“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place.”
Identify your key result areas and make sure you allocate the appropriate resources to handle them. Then, grade yourself in each key result area. Your weakest performing key result area defines the ceiling of your performance of your other skills (a manager who cannot delegate will find that impairs his or her ability to move forward in other skills). Your weakest key result area is an anchor that keeps you from sailing on with your other skills and assets.
“Time management is really life management.”
However, if you improve your weakest key result area, you will improve your overall performance. Everyone has weaknesses. Identify yours and strengthen them. Ask yourself, “What is the one skill area I could improve that would have the greatest impact on my career?” Becoming more computer savvy? Learning a new language? All business skills are learnable, simply target the area in which you need improvement and move forward.
The Law of Forced Efficiency
You probably don’t like the idea of forcing things. The Law of Forced Efficiency relates to the idea that any job will expand to fill the time you allow for it. If you have two days, it will take you two days (or perhaps more). However, the flip side is also true: If you have only one day to complete a two-day job, somehow you find the time to do it. One corollary to the Law of Forced Efficiency is the realization that you will simply never have enough time to do everything you want to do. To cope with this sad circumstance, continually ask yourself:
- What is my highest value activity?
- What is it that only I can do that, if done well, will have a significant impact?
- What is the highest and best use of my time, right now?
The answers to these questions will help you to manage your time. As Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”
Identify Your Key Constraints
You have goals and you haven’t achieved them yet. So what is holding you back? Answering that question can be a critical building block for a more successful tomorrow.
In fact, you must determine the answer.
Constraints always affect the completion of a job. Identify these limiting factors, your key constraints, and the rest of your work will go much more smoothly. If you can resolve your choke point, you can make every other process flow more naturally.
Here, the 80-20 rule applies: 80% of your problems will stem from 20% of the obstacles that you face. So which ones should you concentrate on? Ask, “What within me is holding me back?” Don’t blame someone else. Take responsibility, identify what you need to do to improve.
Becoming Your Own Cheerleader
Change is always a challenge; to meet the challenge of becoming more effective, you will need support from the world’s greatest cheerleader — you! So grab your pom-poms, do a cheer and remember:
- Become an eternal optimist — When you really rely on yourself, you no longer have the luxury of moping, feeling sorry for yourself or copping an attitude. Respond positively to other people’s behaviors, words and actions. Steer a steady course, unaffected by the countless, maddening, trivial setbacks of daily life.
- Always talk to yourself positively — Say things like, “I like myself”, “I am confident”, “I am strong”, over and over again creating positive affirmations that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
- Resolve to remain cheerful and upbeat — Optimists look for the good in any situation, they search for the lesson and believe that difficulties come not to obstruct them, but to instruct them.
- Visualize your goals —Imagine yourself sitting in that corner office, with your name on the door.
Eating the frog means having the positive attitude and the will to do the most difficult task first. Because you can’t do everything, indulge in creative procrastination — put off the things that do not carry a consequence. Break large tasks down into a series of simple ones. Work with a sense of urgency. And remember that all you have to do to succeed in business and in life is learn to eat that frog every day.
In order to be effective and successful, you must develop the habit of eating your frog: Choose your biggest, ugliest task of the day and do it first thing. It is your highest priority. This habit can be learned through practice, repetition, and selfdiscipline.
Procrastination is the death of success. It drains your time, energy, and selfrespect, ultimately leaving you stressed and unable to enjoy your life. Eat that frog so you can get your tasks done faster and better, leaving more time to do what you love and become your best self.
About Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy is an author, motivational speaker, and business consultant. Focused on helping individuals and organizations achieve their business goals, he has written over 80 books on professional development including How the Best Leaders Lead, Kiss That Frog!, and Maximum Achievement. Tracy founded Brian Tracy International, which specializes in educating and developing companies in order to find their maximum success.
I have read the book [Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time] by [Brian Tracy] and I will provide you with a brief review of it.
Eat That Frog! is a self-help book by Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker and author, that teaches 21 techniques to overcome procrastination and increase productivity. The book is based on the metaphor of eating a frog, which means doing the most important and difficult task first thing in the morning, before anything else. The book claims that by eating your frog, you will feel more energized, motivated, and satisfied throughout the day.
The book is divided into three parts: Introduction, The 21 Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, and Conclusion. In the introduction, Tracy explains the concept of eating your frog and why it is essential for success. He also introduces the three key elements of effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination.
In the second part, Tracy presents the 21 steps to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. Each step is explained in a separate chapter, with examples, tips, exercises, and quotes. The steps are:
- Set the Table: Define your goals clearly and write them down.
- Plan Every Day in Advance: Make a list of tasks for each day and prioritize them according to their importance and urgency.
- Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything: Focus on the 20 percent of tasks that account for 80 percent of your results.
- Consider the Consequences: Think about the long-term impact of your actions or inactions.
- Practice Creative Procrastination: Delay or delegate the tasks that are not important or urgent.
- Use the ABCDE Method Continually: Assign a letter to each task based on its priority: A for very important, B for important, C for nice to do, D for delegate, and E for eliminate.
- Focus on Key Result Areas: Identify the areas of your work that are most critical for your performance and concentrate on them.
- Apply the Law of Three: Determine the three most important tasks that you must complete each day to achieve your goals.
- Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin: Gather all the information, tools, and resources you need before you start working on a task.
- Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time: Break down large and complex tasks into smaller and simpler subtasks and work on them one at a time.
- Upgrade Your Key Skills: Learn new skills or improve existing ones that can help you do your work better and faster.
- Identify Your Key Constraints: Find out what is holding you back or slowing you down and eliminate or overcome it.
- Put the Pressure on Yourself: Set deadlines and rewards for yourself and stick to them.
- Motivate Yourself into Action: Use positive affirmations, visualization, and self-talk to boost your confidence and enthusiasm.
- Technology Is a Terrible Master: Control your use of technology and avoid distractions such as email, social media, and phone calls.
- Technology Is a Wonderful Servant: Use technology to enhance your productivity and efficiency, such as online tools, apps, and software.
- Focus Your Attention: Stay focused on one task at a time until it is done, without switching or multitasking.
- Slice and Dice the Task: Start with a small part of a task that you can do quickly and easily, then move on to the next part until you finish the whole task.
- Create Large Chunks of Time: Block out uninterrupted periods of time for working on your most important tasks without any distractions or interruptions.
- Develop a Sense of Urgency: Act fast and decisively on your tasks and avoid procrastination or perfectionism.
- Single Handle Every Task: Work on a task from start to finish without stopping or leaving it unfinished.
In the conclusion, Tracy summarizes the main points of the book and encourages the reader to apply them consistently until they become habits.
The book is written in a simple and straightforward style that makes it easy to read and understand. The book is also practical and actionable; it provides concrete steps and strategies that can be implemented immediately by anyone who wants to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.
The book is not perfect; it has some limitations and drawbacks. For instance:
- The book is not very original or innovative; it does not present any new or groundbreaking ideas or concepts on procrastination or productivity. It mostly rehashes existing knowledge and wisdom from other sources.
- The book is not very comprehensive or nuanced; it does not cover all aspects or causes of procrastination or address different types or levels of procrastinators. It also does not acknowledge the potential benefits or positive aspects of procrastination in some situations.
- The book is not very flexible or adaptable; it assumes that one size fits all when it comes to overcoming procrastination and increasing productivity. It does not take into account individual differences, preferences, or circumstances that may affect the applicability or effectiveness of the techniques.
- The book is not very realistic or sustainable; it sets high expectations and standards for the reader that may be hard to achieve or maintain in the long run. It also does not provide much support or guidance for dealing with setbacks, challenges, or failures that may occur along the way.
However, these limitations do not diminish the value or quality of the book; they are rather part of its scope and purpose. They reflect Tracy’s style and intention as a motivational speaker and author: to provide simple and practical solutions for common problems and challenges.