Bear with me on the “Eat That Frog” title. There is a reason for it…and it’s nothing to do with food either.
But perhaps you are familiar with the following statements:
“I’ll get that done soon…”
“Let me do this first…”
“I’ll get to it after I finish this…”
“I don’t have time to do this…”
And then you check your e-mails, social media feeds, look at that text message.
Oh wait, you should watch that TV show you recorded.
Does that sound familiar?
Why Do We Do These Routines and Ignore Our Goals?
Scientists and psychologists have been talking about procrastination for many years and there are many theories behind why we do it.
But to keep it simple, you may have unknowingly created a habit that is ingrained into your lifestyle.
Experts on procrastination have claimed that “20% of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators…procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one”.
For some people, it’s so ingrained that they don’t notice it as it’s in the background.
You know the story – leaving Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve, not paying bills on time, leaving homework until the last minute.
So How Can I Start Getting More Things Done?
For one thing, you can start reading the tons of self-improvement and personal development resources out there and learn the different techniques,
Online and offline.
But with all the productivity hacks and to-do styled tips around, it is difficult to stay on top of it.
And it’s even more difficult to find out what works for you.
Searching for productivity within the books section of Amazon brings up 76 pages of results at the time of writing.
Good luck reading all of that.
And I wouldn’t even bother either, as you will confuse yourself even more about how to be productive.
Which is why I decided to write about one particular book that I’ve recently read:
Not only have I read it, but I have implemented the methods in my own business.
And you know what?
It really worked for me.
I’ll show you how it has had an impact on my business, and how it can help yours too.
Disclaimer about ‘Eat That Frog’
Before you read the, or go further in this book, I should clarify a few things.
First of all, it still helps to read around about productivity and how other make changes in your life to be more productive.
Because it’s not just about your techniques, but also about your day-to-day life.
Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and sleeping well all play a part in being more productive, as well as many other factors.
[bctt tweet=”Part of being productive is about exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and sleeping well.” username=”IamAhmedKhalifa”]
In fact, the book actually touches on that.
But the more you read, the more you start absorbing different styles and techniques, and you will unknowingly start implementing them in your day-to-day life.
And it will all start to click.
Secondly, the book is not groundbreaking, nor does it go knee-deep into the world of productivity either.
It is actually a short read – around 120 pages.
But it practical and impactful.
It provides an overview of the core principles when it comes to being productive.
It then gives you some insight on the basic way to organise your life/business/career by ensuring you do the meaningful things each and every day that drive you towards your goal.
You might sound disappointed at that, but sometimes you need to get back to the basics so that you can accomplish the big things in life.
Nonetheless, you should read on and also buy the book if you want to catapult your life and reach your goals quicker and in less time.
Overview of ‘Eat That Frog’ by Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy is the best-selling author and speaker of topics such as productivity, time management, procrastination and other related factors.
Within ‘Eat That Frog’, the main thing Brian focuses on is to look at the bigger picture and help you to ensure you are doing things directly tied to your goals.
These are the things that will have the biggest impact in achieving those goals.
The book also goes through the ’21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’.
Some of those tasks include:
- understand your goals and objectives clearly and know exactly what needs to be done
- planning your day and key tasks in advance on paper or online
- organise your tasks so that you can focus on completing your tasks instead of looking for stuff to do
- set priorities on your most important tasks and tackle them first (these are the frogs, which I will explain later)
- overcome the bad habits and procrastination that is holding you back
- leverage your talent and maximise your personal power to ensure maximum productivity
- practice the ABCDE method, which I will explain later
- apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do in life, which I will also explain later
- become the most productive person that you can be in your business and your company
- slice and dice your tasks into more manageable chunks to make it easier to consume them
Once you have learnt and mastered the techniques, you will transform from a normal car, which will gradually, but slowly, get you to your destination (or your goal)…
…to a high-performing supercar, which will not stop at anything until it reaches that destination.
Brian Tracy himself explains it perfectly in the video along with the ABCDE Method.
What’s the Deal With the Frog Then?
You may be wondering, what does a “frog” have to do with anything?
It spurns from a famous quote by Mark Twain:
A frog is a euphemism for the hardest and ugliest, but highly necessary, tasks that you have to do.
The tasks sound difficult and complex, but you need to eat it if you want to move forward.
Once you have eaten it, everything else that follows will be easier.
Brian claims that the key to reaching high levels of performance, and ultimately your goals, is to make a habit of tackling the hardest task first thing in the morning.
So that being said, do not check your social feeds and emails when you wake up or arrive at your work desk.
Just eat that frog!
But What if You Have 2 (or more) Frogs?
“If you have to eat 2 frogs, eat the ugliest one first” – Brian Tracy
This is another way of saying start with the biggest, hardest and most important task first.
If you need to eat the frog, but it is just sitting there and you are simply looking at it, you won’t get anywhere. But you will also need to work out which is the “uglier frog”. Using the ABCDE method can help you with that.
What is the ABCDE Method?
This is a very simple step that can help to categorise your priorities and ensure you can tackle those at the top first.
For each of your tasks, place a letter next to them:
A: task you must complete, very important, major positive/negative consequences (rank multiple ‘A’ items with A-1, A-2, A-3, etc.)
B: task you should complete and has mild consequences
C: task is optional and you would like to do it, but there are no consequences attached to it
D: task can be delegated, which you should do ASAP
E: task can be eliminated without any real difference
And it goes without saying that you should never do a B task if you haven’t finished the A task.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t move on to the next task without completing your first task” username=”IamAhmedKhalifa”]
And you must consider the consequences too.
These are the ones that matter the most and should ultimately have an impact on your decisions.
- Which of the tasks is of the highest value?
- Which of the tasks, if I do them and do them well, can make a real difference to my life?
- Which of the tasks is the most valuable use of my time?
The key to making it all work is to focus on the top 20% of the most important tasks, instead of the less-important 80%…even if there are more of them.
Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
You can apply the 80/20 to just about anything in life:
- 20% of your product or services will account for 80% of your profits
- 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales
- 20% of your life choices will account for 80% of your life goals
- And the most important one – 20% of your activities will bring in 80% of your results
This is why you need to focus on your most important tasks – those in the ‘A’ section.
Those are the ones that will matter the most and are what you need to achieve the most.
If you have 10 tasks, one or two of them will contribute more value to your achievement than the rest of them combined.
But they are also the most difficult and complex ones – the frogs.
So make it your vow that you will not work on the bottom 80% until you complete the 20% at the top first.
It may sound easier and also seem like you are moving forward if you are tackling the small tasks first, but you must resist the urge to do that.
How I Combine Trello, Toggl and Pomodoro Technique for the ABCDE Method?
You can do this offline, like with a whiteboard and post-it notes.
Some people like to use a spreadsheet.
Just in case you don’t know:
- Trello – is a project management tool which can help you to plan out your project, from organising your business tasks to helping you with your house move to planning out your meal.
- Toggl – is a simple but very efficient time-tracking tool for small businesses and freelancers
- Pomodoro Technique – is based on the 25–minute timer shaped like a tomato. This is a technique where you pick a task, work on it for 25 minutes, take a 5–minute break and you repeat the cycle 3–4 more times. For more info, read this post about the pomodoro technique.
One of the best things about having this Trello board set up is that you will immediately know what is the most important task to tackle by filtering the labels
And by moving your cards to the completed section, you will gradually develop a habit, a routine, a “positive addiction”.
This is when you unconsciously start becoming addicted to the feeling of completing your tasks and success (however large or small they are).
If you want a copy of the Trello board above with the labels featured, you can do so below:
The only thing you need to do is to use the grey labels accordingly e.g. name of the clients, project names, etc.
Getting Things Done by David Allen is what many, if not most, people would be aware of.
But if you want a lighter read, this is a great book to buy.
By planning frequently, get creative, maximising the potential of your willpower and putting down that damn phone, you can achieve great things.
And of course, you need to make a habit of eating a frog first thing in the morning, every single day.
Because there is no shortcut to this routine. You need to practice until you have mastered the skill of frog-eating.
So if you want to gain an extra few hours in your day and get closer to your goals more quickly at the same time, you can’t ignore this book.
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- ‘Atomic Habit’ – Book Review on How to Create Good Habits & Remove Bad Habits - 5th October 2019