Summary of “Eat That Frog!-21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating And Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy”
“Eat that Frog!” is a wonderful book written by Brian Tracy. A must-read if you want to stop procrastinating and achieve more in life. We all procrastinate and it’s natural to some extent. It’s not harmful if done within limits, but it shouldn’t govern our life. If you let procrastination take over your life, you won’t achieve much in life. As we all have 24 hours, so it’s necessary to plan, prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.
It’s time you stop procrastinating and get more done in less time, eat that one frog at a time.
1 Set the Table
There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it — NAPOLEON HILL
- Take a clean sheet of paper right now and make a list of ten goals you want to accomplish in the next year. Write your goals as though a year has already passed and they are now a reality. Use the present tense, positive voice, and first person singular so that they are immediately accepted by your subconscious mind. For example, you could write, “I earn x number of dollars per year by this date” or “I weigh x number of pounds by this date” or “I drive such and such a car by this date.”
- Review your list of ten goals and select the one goal that, if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive impact on your life. Whatever that goal is, write it on a separate sheet of paper, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan, and then do something every single day that moves you toward that goal. This exercise alone could change your life!
2 Plan Every Day in Advance
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now — ALAN LAKEIN
- Begin today to plan every day, week, and month in advance. Take a notepad or sheet of paper (or use your smartphone) and make a list of everything you have to do in the next twenty-four hours. Add to your list as new items come up. Make a list of all your projects, the big multitask jobs that are important to your future.
- Lay out all of your major goals, projects, and tasks by priority, what is most important, and by sequence, what has to be done first, what comes second, and so forth. Start with the end in mind and work backward. Think on paper! Always work from a list. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become and how much easier it is to eat your frog.
3 Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright — JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
- Make a list of all the key goals, activities, projects, and responsibilities in your life today. Which of them are, or could be, in the top 10 or 20 percent of tasks that represent, or could represent, 80 or 90 percent of your results?
- Resolve today that you are going to spend more and more of your time working in those few areas that can really make a difference in your life and career and spend less and less time on lower-value activities.
4 Consider the consequences
Every great man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel — ORISON SWETT MARDEN
- Review your list of tasks, activities, and projects regularly. Continually ask yourself, “Which one project or activity, if I did it in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive consequences in my work or personal life?”
- Determine the most important thing you could be doing every hour of every day, and then discipline yourself to work continually on the most valuable use of your time. What is this for you right now? Whatever it is that can help you the most, set it as a goal, make a plan to achieve it, and go to work on your plan immediately. Remember the wonderful words of Goethe: “Only engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed”
5 Practice Creative Procrastination
Make time for getting big tasks done every day. Plan your daily workload in advance. Single out the relatively few small jobs that absolutely must be done immediately in the morning. Then go directly to the big tasks and pursue them to completion — BOARDROOM REPORTS
- Practice “zero-based thinking” in every part of your life. Ask yourself continually, “If I were not doing this already, knowing what I now know, would I start doing it again today?” If it is something you would not start again today, knowing what you now know, it is a prime candidate for abandonment or creative procrastination.
- Examine each of your personal and work activities and evaluate it based on your current situation. Select at least one activity to abandon immediately or at least deliberately put off until your more important goals have been achieved.
6 Use the ABCDE Method Continually
The first law of success is concentration — to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left — WILLIAM MATHEWS
- Review your work list right now and put an A, B, C, D, or E next to each task or activity. Select your A-1 job or project and begin on it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until this one job is complete.
- Practice this ABCDE Method every day for the next month on every work or project list before you begin work. After a month, you will have developed the habit of setting and working on your highest-priority tasks, and your future will be assured.
7 Focus on Key Result Areas
When every physical and mental resource is focused, one’s power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously — NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
- Identify the key result areas of your work. What are they? Write down the key results you have to get to do your job in an excellent fashion. Give yourself a grade from one to ten on each one. And then determine the one key skill that, if you did it in an excellent manner, would help you the most in your work.
- Take this list to your boss and discuss it with him or her. Invite honest feedback and appraisal. You can only get better when you are open to the constructive input of other people. Discuss your conclusions with your staff and coworkers. Talk them over with your spouse. Make a habit of doing this analysis regularly for the rest of your career. Never stop improving. This decision alone can change your life.
8 Apply the Law of Three
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are -THEODORE ROOSEVELT
- Determine the three most important tasks that you do in your work. Ask yourself, “If I could do only one thing all day long, which one task would contribute the greatest value to my career?” Do this exercise two more times. Once you have identified your “big three,” concentrate on them single-mindedly all day long.
- Identify your three most important goals in each area of your life. Organize them by priority. Make plans for their accomplishment, and work on your plans every single day. You will be amazed at what you achieve in the months and years ahead.
9 Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime — JAMES T. MCCAY
- Take a good look at your desk or office, both at home and at work. Ask yourself, “What kind of a person works in an environment like this?” The cleaner and neater your work environment, the more positive, productive, and confident you will feel.
- Resolve today to clean up your desk and office completely so that you feel effective, efficient, and ready to get going each time you sit down to work.
10 Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time
Persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much, if they apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a time — SAMUEL SMILES
- Select any goal, task, or project in your life on which you have been procrastinating and make a list of all the steps you will need to take to eventually complete the task.
- Then take just one step immediately. Sometimes all you need to do to get started is to sit down and complete one item on the list. And then do one more, and so on. You will be amazed at what you eventually accomplish.
11 Upgrade Your Key Skills
The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be -OG MANDINO
- Identify the key skills that can help you the most to achieve better and faster results. Determine the core competencies that you will need to have in the future to lead your field. Whatever they are, set a goal, make a plan, and begin developing and increasing your ability in those areas. Decide to be the very best at what you do!
- Develop a personal plan to prepare yourself to do your most important tasks in an excellent fashion. Focus on those areas where you have special talents and that you most enjoy. This is the key to unlocking your personal potential.
12 Identify Your Key Constraints
Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus — ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL
- Identify your most important goal in life today. What is it? What one goal, if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive effect on your life? What one career accomplishment would have the greatest positive im- pact on your work life?
- Determine the one constraint, internal or external, that sets the speed at which you accomplish this goal. Ask, “Why haven’t I reached it already? What is it in me that is holding me back?” Whatever your answers, take action immediately. Do something. Do anything, but get started.
13 Put the Pressure on Yourself
The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary — THOMAS EDISON
- Set deadlines and sub deadlines on every task and activity. Create your own “forcing system.” Raise the bar on yourself and don’t let yourself off the hook. Once you’ve set yourself a deadline, stick to it and even try to beat it.
- Write out every step of a major job or project before you begin. Determine how many minutes and hours you will require to complete each phase. Then race against your own clock. Beat your own deadlines. Make it a game and resolve to win!
14 Motivate Yourself into Action
It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and of creative action that man finds his supreme joys — ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
- Control your thoughts. Remember, you become what you think about most of the time. Be sure that you are thinking and talking about the things you want rather than the things you don’t want.
- Keep your mind positive by accepting complete responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens to you. Refuse to criticize others, complain, or blame others for anything. Resolve to make progress rather than excuses. Keep your thoughts and your energy focused forward, on what you can do right now to im- prove your life, and let the rest go.
15 Technology Is a Terrible Master
There is more to life than just increasing its speed — MOHANDAS GANDHI
- Resolve today to create zones of silence during your day-to-day activities. Turn off your computer and your smartphone for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. You will be amazed at what happens: nothing.
- Resolve to unplug from technology for one full day each week. By the end of your digital detox, your mind will be calm and clear. When your mental batteries have time to recharge, you will be much more effective at eating frogs.
16 Technology Is a Wonderful Servant
Technology is just a tool — MELINDA GATES
- Resolve today to turn off all notifications, except for your emergency channels. Create special areas in your digital life for your most important tasks.
- Resolve to research and install one piece of software or one app that will help you be more efficient and focused.
17 Focus Your Attention
All of life is the study of attention; where your attention goes, your life follows — JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI
- Keep your goals of success and high productivity in mind. Before you do anything, ask yourself, “Is this helping me achieve one of my most important goals, or is this just a distraction?”
- Refuse to become a slave to the bells and whistles that distract you from completing those tasks that can make a real difference in your life. Leave your devices off.
18 Slice and Dice the Task
The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, in thought and act — ORISON SWETT MARDEN
- Put the “salami slice” or “Swiss cheese” technique into action immediately to get started on a large, complex, multitask job that you’ve been putting off.
- Become action-oriented. A common quality of high performers is that when they hear a good idea, they take action on it immediately. Don’t delay. Try it today!
19 Create Large Chunks of Time
Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets — NIDO QUBEIN
- Think continually of different ways that you can save, schedule, and consolidate large chunks of time. Use these times to work on important tasks with the most significant long-term consequences.
- Make every minute count. Work steadily and continuously without diversion or distraction by planning and preparing your work in advance. Most of all, keep focused on the most important results for which you are responsible.
20 Develop a Sense of Urgency
Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along — NAPOLEON HILL
- Resolve today to develop a sense of urgency in everything you do. Select one area where you have a tendency to procrastinate and make a decision to develop the habit of fast action in that area.
- When you see an opportunity or a problem, take action on it immediately. When you are given a task or responsibility, take care of it quickly and report back fast. Move rapidly in every important area of your life. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and how much more you get done.
21 Single Handle Every Task
Herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and to concentrate them at any given moment upon a given point — JAMES ALLEN
- Take action! Resolve today to select the most important task or project that you could complete and then launch into it immediately.
- Once you start your most important task, discipline yourself to persevere without diversion or distraction until it is 100 percent complete. See it as a test to determine whether you are the kind of person who can make a decision to complete something and then carry it out. Once you begin, refuse to stop until the job is finished.
Conclusion: Putting It All Together
The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success, and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for you to develop the habit of eating your frog first thing every day when you start work. Fortunately, this is a learnable skill that you can acquire through repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most important task before anything else, your success is assured. Here is a summary of the twenty-one great ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firm- ly ingrained in your thinking and actions, and your future will be guaranteed.
- Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you begin.
- Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution.
- Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top 20 percent.
- Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all else.
- Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything, you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that you have enough time to do the few things that really count.
- Use the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities.
- Focus on key result areas: Identify those results that you absolutely, positively have to get to do your job well, and work on them all day long.
- Apply the Law of Three: 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.
- Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Have everything you need at hand before you start. Assemble all the papers, information, tools, work materials, and numbers you might require so that you can get started and keep going.
- Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time.
- Upgrade your key skills: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done. Determine exactly what it is that you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well.
- Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internal or external, that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.
- Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine that you have to leave town for a month, and work as if you had to get your major task completed before you left.
- Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive.
- Technology is a terrible master: Take back your time from enslaving technological addictions. Learn to often turn devices off and leave them off.
- Technology is a wonderful servant: Use your techno- logical tools to confront yourself with what is most important and protect yourself from what is least important.
- Focus your attention: Stop the interruptions and dis- tractions that interfere with completing your most important tasks.
- Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces, and then do just one small part of the task to get started.
- Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large blocks of time so you can concentrate for extended periods on your most important tasks.
- Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.
- Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start im- mediately on your most important task, and then work without stopping until the job is 100 percent complete. This is the real key to high performance and maximum personal productivity.
Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you. With these habits of personal management as a permanent part of your personality, your future success will be unlimited. Just do it! Eat that frog!
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