Do you procrastinate?
Well, I just finished reading Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog!: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time,” and I have to say, it’s really, really good…
Unless you’re the most uber-productive person to ever walk the planet you should at least give it a peek. It’s only 128 pages long (I read it over the course of two days in between working) and it’s very low on fluff.
The point behind the title goes back to an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s almost certainly the worst thing you’ll do all day.
So your “frog” is really your most challenging undertaking for the day, the one that you are most likely to procrastinate, but also the one that is most likely to have a positive impact on your life.
While the book focuses on 21 separate ways to stop procrastinating, 5 of them really spoke to me personally, so here’s the rundown on my top 5 takeaways:
1. Plan Every Day in Advance
Put pen to paper. Before you begin going about your daily business, take 15-20 minutes to plan out your tasks. Spending 15-20 minutes in planning could end up saving you hours of time actually doing the things you must do for the day. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see that it actually does work.
2. Apply the 80/20 Rule to EVERYTHING
Basically, 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results in any area. By focusing on the exclusive few top 20% activities and resisting the urge to “clear up the minor things first,” you can up your productivity drastically. Spend some time considering what your productive activities are so that you can remind yourself to focus on them more than just 20% of the time.
3. Use the ABCDE Method Continually
This is almost certainly the largest takeaway for me, and it’s also likely the easiest to apply (maybe that’s why I like it).
Categorize your tasks by assigning them a letter according to their significance: (A) Must Be Done (aka your “frog”), (B) Should Be Done, (C) Would Be Nice, (D) Delegate to someone else, or (E) Eliminate altogether (without any consequences).
Once you’ve categorized your responsibilities, prioritize them using numbers. For instance, you could have 3 “A” tasks: A-1, A-2, and A-3.
Work through the list sticking to the order you assigned each task. This will make sure that you get your “frogs” out of the way first thing, which will have the utmost positive effect on your life.
4. Identify your Key Constraints
It’s usually effortless to make out the one biggest factor that is holding you back from accomplishing a task. By identifying this restraining factor, you can focus every part of your energy on eliminating it. Once that is done you can repeat the process with the next largest limiting factor. By repeating this process over and over you make the task much easier to complete. Determine your limiting factors and focus on eliminating them.
5. Slice and Dice the Task
By cutting a substantial task into lesser “slices” you can make the task less overwhelming. Psychologically the task is easier if you complete it in a series of bite-sized chunks. Also, once you finish a “slice” you’re more likely to feel like taking on another slice. This will help you get those big, intimidating projects done more rapidly than you believed feasible.