- 1 Book Summary - Eat That Frog by Bryan Tracy
- 1.1 Key Insights
- 1.2 Key Points
- 1.3 The Main Take-away
- 1.4 About the Author
Book Summary - Eat That Frog by Bryan Tracy
Are you always rushing around but getting nothing done? Do you find that your to-do list keeps getting bigger? If the answer is yes then it sounds like you’re being overwhelmed by frogs.
Fortunately, these frogs are metaphorical. Frogs are the tasks that are too big or too hard to tackle easily and end up being pushed to the back of the line.
However, there is a way to make life easier and more productive. That is to handle these tasks first or to put it another way, by ‘eating the frog’. Learning how to ‘eat the frog’ will enable you to be more productive and get more out of your day without feeling overwhelmed.
Write down your daily goals.
It sounds pretty obvious but having a good plan reduces procrastination and increases your productivity. If you have a defined list of goals for the day, you are going to have a better chance of completing those tasks.
A simple but effective way to plan is to write out a list starting with the most important goals for the day. When you have something down in writing, you have something physical you can see and focus on.
The added benefit of writing goals down for the day is the ability to feel you accomplished something when you cross off each item on the list. Most people who do not write down their goals for the day rarely get them done, so they rarely feel accomplished.
Having a clear purpose outlined in writing will make you more determined and focused to complete tasks. When you see something you need to do written down, you’ll be more motivated. You’re holding yourself accountable to the goals that you’ve set. That makes you more effective.
Apply this planning process to your day, week, month, and beyond. Your commitment to accomplishing the goals you set for yourself should become a habit.
How do you prioritize your to-do lists? Do you put the easiest and less pressing tasks at the top of the list? This is a common strategy. Perhaps it feels like, by doing them first, you’ll have the rest of the day to concentrate on more important tasks. Or maybe you view the quickest tasks as a warm-up for the actual work?
The reality is that if you work this way you are more likely to fail in completing your important tasks. You’re not just warming up or getting distractions out of the way. You’re spending your limited time and energy on things that don’t matter as much. By leaving them until the end you risk running out of time.
However, if you prioritize properly, you can make sure all of the important matters are taken care of first. You’re giving your attention to the things that matter the most for getting the results you want. If you run out of time it won’t matter as much. The less important tasks can wait until another time.
To prioritize, you need a method for labeling your tasks. There are different approaches and you should figure out what works best for you. It may take some trial and error, but it will be worth it.
You can categorize your tasks using the ABCDE method. The most important tasks are labeled in descending order of importance as group A, B, or C. Handle your A tasks first, then B and C if you have time. Tasks that can be delegated to someone else or removed completely are grouped as D and E.
Another way to approach planning is by using the Pareto Principle, which is sometimes known as the 80/20 rule. Under the Pareto Principle, 20% of your work accounts for 80% of your productivity. Using this method will allow you to streamline your efforts and maximize your output.
Say, for example, that you have 10 tasks for the day but only two of them are really important. You would prioritize those two items. Spend the majority of your time working on those items. This ensures that you’re working towards the things that really matter and making progress on your priorities.
Once you have removed tasks that don’t matter or delegated what others can handle, you can focus your energy on getting the real work done. As an added bonus, being able to remove items and have a streamlined list will make your load seem less overwhelming.
Learn your own limitations and push past them.
When you’re making your agenda do you think about what you are good at? Chances are, you prioritize work in order of things that come easiest to you. You may do this without even realizing it. But, knowing your strengths and using them is integral to your productivity.
It is also important to understand your weaknesses. Maybe you are great at organizing your plans but have trouble delegating work. Maybe you can work quickly but have trouble staying focused on one project.
Recognizing your abilities and their limits can be liberating. Once you know where your strengths lie, you can focus your energy on the areas that need work and improve your skills. While you build up those skills, you can also recruit others to fill the gaps where you’re weak.
Imagine you have a big project and it is the most important task on your list. However, you get easily overwhelmed with large projects. The most productive solution is to break the project down into smaller actionable items.
As you improve your abilities, you’ll feel more confident. Tasks that initially seemed daunting are much easier to handle. As a result, the hard tasks that you often want to put off no longer intimidate you. Making the choice to prioritize them will seem more appealing.
Identifying and targeting your weaknesses will also help you stop those things from holding you back. This is especially important if those weak areas are also the key constraints keeping you from achieving your goals. You have to push past to get what you want.
Stay focused and be mindful of consequences.
There’s no denying it, staying focused on one task can be hard, especially when technology offers us so many distractions. It can be easy to find yourself wasting time on social media when you should be working on something more important.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time, especially when facing tasks or work that they don’t really want to do. Procrastination can seriously affect your levels of productivity and can also undermine the progress you do make.
Without sounding too dramatic, think about worst-case scenarios. What happens if you don’t complete your most important tasks. For example, there’s an opening for your dream job and you need to apply. But you don’t. Or you complete the application sloppily and it’s full of errors. If that’s the most important thing to you, do it first and do it right.
Being aware of the consequences will help you to stay on track and achieve goals. It will also help you determine which tasks are more important. If failure to complete an item has no meaningful consequences, then it is probably safe to consider it unimportant enough to remove or give to someone else.
Avoid multitasking. Although it always seems impressive when someone is handling multiple tasks at once, it’s better to focus on one task at a time. If you try to work on multiple tasks simultaneously, you are more prone to distraction and more likely to make mistakes. Doing one task at a time allows you the focus to get it done well and, likely, more efficiently.
Making sure you get enough sleep each night is also key. If you are tired the next day you will find it harder to stay focused and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Rest is as important as being active and a lack of sleep has a direct impact on your productivity.
Actively manage your time by organizing how you intend to spend it.
You have written out your priorities in order of importance and had a good eight hours sleep. Yet, you are still finding yourself rushing to complete significant items on the list. The problem isn’t your organization, it’s your time-management skills.
Even if you know what you need to get done and don’t procrastinate, you may find yourself in the same position as before. This is because you need to budget your time for each task so you don’t spend a disproportionate amount of time on one thing.
Try breaking your day up into allotments of time and assign specific amounts of time to a task. Write out the allocated time blocks and stick to them. Assigning times to each task allows you to visualize your day.
If you know you only have an hour in the morning to complete an important task, you are far more likely to try and complete it in that block of time. You also work more productively when you know you have limited timeframes. If you can stick to the timeframe, you will know before the day is over whether you will complete all your tasks or not.
If the pressure of deadlines is too much for you, set yourself a false deadline at an earlier time. Aim to be complete by this time but don’t stress yourself out. You will still have time before the real deadline and will have made significant progress on the task already. This should relieve some of the pressure and help you maintain focus.
The goal is to force efficiency into your work. You want to maximize what you’re good at and figure out how to make the greatest impact. Divide up your time accordingly. You’re trying to give the most time to your best work.
Keep a positive outlook.
Trying to remain positive can be easier said than done, especially when your list of tasks seems endless. However, being optimistic can have a great effect on your productivity. There is power in positive thinking.
In fact, being positive does more than just improve your productivity. It improves your self-confidence and boosts your ability to tackle hard tasks. By believing in yourself, the tasks you found intimidating now become manageable. You won’t be slowed down by self-doubt.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is. There will still be times when you are distracted or a specific item on the agenda seems difficult. That being said, you have to remember that it’s just as important to take breaks. Working solidly on tasks without a break will diminish your productivity over time.
But continue to believe in your own abilities and even on the most difficult days. The more you keep at it, the more efficient you will become at getting things done. Just keep eating those frogs.
The Main Take-away
Productivity requires planning. To get the most out of your day, prioritize the things that are most important to you. Spend the majority of your time on those tasks.
When you’re planning out your day take the time to think about where your strengths and weaknesses are. Utilize your strengths and learn how to develop your weak points so that you can maximize your potential. Don’t be afraid to learn new things.
Procrastination is detrimental to productivity. The best way for you to tackle distractions is to get ahead of them. Create a clear plan for each day and assign the time you have to each task. Keep focused on your deadlines to make sure you’re accomplishing everything you want to accomplish.
Don’t be afraid to delegate unimportant tasks to someone else, or even remove them altogether. Tackle the most important items of your agenda first and you will increase your output exponentially.
Finally, stay focused and stay positive. Positivity is one of the biggest factors in generating high productivity. Instill yourself with some confidence and believe in your abilities to get things done. When you have a positive view of yourself, you will be at your most productive.
About the Author
Brian Tracy is a personal and professional development expert, motivational speaker, and author. He has written over 70 books and 300 learning programs.
The Canadian-American shares his expertise with individuals and companies through consulting, seminars, and talks. His talks have reached over 5 million people and in a given year, addresses more than 250,000.
Tracy’s events and appearances span the globe. He has worked in more than 107 countries and speaks four languages. Prior to founding Brian Tracy International, he was the CEO of a multi-million dollar development company.
Tracy resides in California with his wife and four children. He is the president of three companies headquartered in Solana Beach.