I read Brian Tracy’s fun book “Eat That Frog!” not too long ago and I got a ton of great tips out of it. You know how I love to share these things. So here goes! This is a quick run-through of the main things I learned from this book. Check it out.
Notes on: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
This book is about a set of ideas to help you stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. The book is rather short, but I decided to do a real number on it and give you the nitty-gritty. By all means capable, do what works for you – and you might just be surprised with the results you begin to see soon… or who knows – you might not be surprised at all! Oh, and always remember:
Setting the Table:
- Here is a great rule for success: THINK ON PAPER
- Only ~3% of adults have clear, written goals. These folks accomplish 5 to 10 times as much as people of equal or better education and ability who do not take time to write out what they want.
- Rule: One of the worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.
Plan Every Day in Advance:
- Every minute spent in planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution.
- Remember the 10/90 Rule: the 1st 10% of time you spend planning and organizing your work (before beginning) will save you as much as 90% of time in getting the job done.
Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything:
- 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.
- Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
- Time management is really life management. Marinate on that.
Consider the Consequences:
- Before starting anything, always ask yourself, “What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?”
- Rule: Your future intentions influence and often determine your present actions.
- Successful people are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term in order to pave the way for greater rewards in the long term.
Practice the ABCDE Method Continually:
- Working with a list of everything you need to do for the next day, place an A, B, C, D, or E next to them using the following ideas:
o ‘A’ items: must get done or there will be serious consequences
o ‘B’ items: something you should do and has only mild consequences
o ‘C’ items: nice to do and no consequences at all
o ‘D’ items: delegate these
o ‘E’ items: eliminate these and it won’t make any real difference at all
- Ask yourself, “What one skill, if I developed and did it excellently, would have the greatest positive impact on my career?” Answer and do. Get others to answer for you, too!
Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency:
- The Law of Forced Efficiency states, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
- Keep asking yourself, “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” For you? Family? Organization? Life in general?
Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin:
- When at your work area or desk, ask yourself, “What kind of person works in an environment like this?”
- Resolve today to clean up your desk and office so that you can feel effective, efficient, and ready to get going every time you sit down to work.
Do Your Homework:
- Rule: Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in ANY field.
- Listen to audio programs in your car (free downloads from the library!). Turn driving time into learning time.
- The average car owner racks up 500-1,000 hours per year driving around. It takes 3-5 hours to go through an average size book (fiction or not). I read 213 books in 2011 – no I don’t have robot eyes… yet.
Leverage Your Special Talents:
- Inventory your talents and abilities, regularly. What do you do well? What are you good at?
- What sort of preparation would you have to engage in to do those things excellently? Do it!
Identify Your Key Constraints:
- Successful people do constraints analysis by asking, “What is it in me that is holding me back?”
- Accept complete responsibility for your problems and look to yourself for cause and cure.
- Do something. Do anything, and get started.
Take it one Oil Barrel at a Time:
- Sometimes, all you need to do to get started is to sit down and make a list of all steps you will need to take and complete the task in time.
- Then, just start and complete one item on the list, and then one more, and so on.
Put the Pressure on Yourself:
- Successful people keep putting the pressure on themselves to perform on high levels. Less successful people have to be instructed and pressured by others.
- A great way to overcome procrastination is to pretend as if you were going on a month long vacation tomorrow and you have to get the next, biggest project done.
Maximize Your Personal Powers:
- The fact is that you have specific times during the day when you are at your best. Identify these times and discipline yourself to use them for your most important and challenging tasks.
- Assess your current energy levels and daily health habits. Improve them by asking these questions:
o What am I physically doing that I should do more of?
o What am I doing that I should do less of?
o What am I not doing that I should start doing if I want to perform at my best?
o What am I doing today that affects my health that I should stop all together?
Motivate Yourself into Action:
- 95% of your emotions (positive and negative) are determined by how you talk to yourself on a minute-to-minute basis.
- It is not what happens to you but rather the way you interpret the things that are happening to you that determines how you feel.
- Look for the good in every situation, seek the useful lesson in every setback or difficulty, and look for the solution to every problem.
Practice Creative Procrastination:
- Rule: You can get your time and your life under control only to the degree to which you discontinue lower value activities.
- One of the most powerful words in time management is “NO!” Respectfully say “no” to anything that is not a high-value use of your time and life.
- Practice “Zero-Based Thinking”. Ask continually, “If I was not doing this already, knowing what I now know, would I get into it again today?”
Slice and Dice the Task:
- You have deep within you an “urge to completion”. This sense of completion or closure motivates you to start the next task or project and then to persist toward final completion.
- Successful, happy people are action oriented. When they hear a good idea, they immediately take action to see if it can help them. Don’t delay – start today!
Create Large Chunks of Time:
- Make work and task appointments with yourself and then discipline yourself to keep them.
- Set aside 30, 60, and 90 minute time segments to use on and complete important tasks.
Develop a Sense of Urgency:
- When you work on high-value tasks at a high and continuous level of activity, you can actually enter into the amazing mental state called ‘flow’ or being in ‘the zone’.
- In the zone, you feel elated, clear, and everything you do seems to be effortless and accurate.
- With this ingrained sense of urgency, you develop a “bias for action.” You are PULLED to doing more, instead of talking/planning more.
- Your action bias initiates the “Momentum Principle” which states: though it may take a lot of energy to get started and going at 1st, it takes FAR LESS energy to keep going.
Single Handle Every Task:
- Starting and stopping a task (being constantly interrupted) can increase completion time by ~500%.
- Starting and stopping resets your momentum and you have to overcome inertia again – keep going!
Supplied – Now Apply!
I hope you enjoyed this quick and simple run through Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. Remember to keep going with it. You have to practice to get it to stick. Here – I made a plan for ya’ – :)
Future Planning Steps to Take Immediately:
- Open up Outlook or Google Calendar
- Start a new appointment
- Set it for 1 week from today
- Title it, “Review ‘EAT THAT FROG!’ Highlights”
- Make another appointment for 1 month from now, 6 months from now, and 1 year from now
Are you ready to eat that frog?!