This weekend we have been getting on with one of those tasks that we both hate with a passion – gardening! However we could not put if off any longer as we were looking at our calendar and we have such a lot going on in the coming weeks. It was that frog that just had to be eaten! and today was the day
Now this got us thinking about the book by Brian Tracy “Eat That Frog” If you’ve not read it then we certainly suggest that you do
There’s an old saying that says…”If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!” This was said by Mark Twain incidentally.
Brian Tracy says that your “frog” should be the most difficult item on your things to do list, the one where you’re most likely to procrastinate; because, if you eat that first, it’ll give you energy and momentum for the rest of the day. But, if you don’t…and let him sit there on the plate and stare at you while you do a hundred unimportant things, it can drain your energy and you won’t even know it.
Coincidentally, we were guests at an event last weekend sitting at the back of the room and taking notes. One of the keynote speakers was Marcus de Maria who gave an outstanding presentation on improving productivity and he too referred to “eating that frog“.
If you haven’t yet read Brian Tracy’s book it is well worth doing so because there are some great tips on increasing your productivity which will really help you.
Here is an extract from his book
“The key to happiness, satisfaction, gret 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 repedition. 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 twenyt-one great ways to stop procrastinationg and get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firmly 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 yoru 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 esle.
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 organise them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your msot important activities
Focus on key result areas
Identify and determine those results that you absolutely, positively have to get to do your job well and work on them all day long.
The Laws of Three
Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90 percent of yoru 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 yoru key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done
Leverage your special talents
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.
Idenify your key constraints
Determing the bottlenecks 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 all your major tasks completed before you left
Maximise your personal power
Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day, and structure your most important and demanding tasks around those times. Get lost of rest so you can perform at your best
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
Get out of the technological time sinks
Use technology to improve the quality of your communications, but do not allow yourself to become a slave to it. Learn to occasionalloy turn things off and leave them off
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 lark chunks of time
Organise your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on yoru 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 immediately 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 practive these principles every day until they become second nature to you.”
We have a little movie we watch that helps us – click here to play
For us, having a mentor that we can share our “frogs! with has made a real difference to us – they’re not going to do it for us but once you have an accountability partner then you really do get on and do it!
Eat That Frog – Getting Over Procrastination
Chris & Susan Beesley
We’re former accountants and management consultants ‘of a certain age‘ with 5 great kids, 5 grand-kids, 1 grand-dog and a little old cat called Vincent. We love skiing, the mountains and travelling the world and we’re passionate about helping others to start and build successful businesses online to generate them a full or part-time income to support their retirement lifestyle.