This was the 6th book I have read from Brian Tracy. He is one of my favorite authors and never disappoints.
He has a very easy lens which he sees the world through;
Set goals, make plans and work hard, smart and long, and results will come.
In his book Eat That Frog he shares his advice on how we can cure procrastination.
Large tasks tend to intimidate us and make us avoid them.
Even small tasks can feel daunting at times and we will try to avoid them.
Most of us do have or have had procrastination problems at one point or another and we all know how much it can hold us back, keeping us from producing quality results and working on our most important tasks.
If you could cure procrastination you would become one of the most efficient people in the world.
A very short book packed with advice
Eat that frog is only 21 tips explained and with action exercises so that you can put it to use.
Only about 20 pages in regular size
The book itself is over 100. The size is very, very large which has let them sell 500 000 copies of a glorified blog post.
That said, it is a very good blog post.
The 21 tips
1. Set the table
If you are to work efficiently at a task you need to get everything you need to do it in front of you, clear all other distractions so that you can get to work.
2. Plan every day in advance
Every minute planning saves 10 minutes in execution.
I follow this rule like a slave.
Read my article about planning
3. The 80/20 rule
20 percent of all the activities you do will contribute 80 percent of your results.
If you have a list of 10 items, 2 of those items will be more important than the other 8 put together.
Try to focus as much time as possible on those 20 percent so that you can get the most out of your time.
4. Consider the consequences
This is an extension of the 80/20 rule;
The better you are at predicting the consequences of your actions, the better you will be at deciding what actions you need to do and which will make a smaller difference for your future.
5. Practice creative procrastination
You cannot do everything and you can especially not do everything now.
Practice procrastinating on the things that aren’t very important and focus your energy on the things that need doing and that will have a lasting impact on your future.
6. Use the ABCDE method continually
Read my article about the ABC-method.
7. Focus on key result areas
Every job has between 5 and 7 kery result areas. It is those areas that will determine how well you do your job. By focusing on those result areas you will quickly start to improve.
My friend Paul Wolfe wrote an article about this a while back:
8. Apply the law of three
This is a spin on the 7th tip. Every job has three actions that contribute 90% to your output. If you could focus on those three tasks all day you would quickly double the value you produce.
A way to find out what your 3 tasks are is to ask yourself the question:
“If I could only do one thing all day, what should I do?” or “If I was going away for a month, what would I need to do?”
Ask the questions 3 times so that you find all three activities.
9. Prepare thoroughly before you begin
Often we procrastinate because we feel insecure or unprepared. By taking time to prepare e.g. reading up on the subject, setting the table, talking to the right people and so on, you can cure that problem.
10. Take it one barrel at a time
Don’t bite off more than you can chew, you do not have to solve the entire problem now, take it one step at a time, one part at a time. Just decide to work on this little part before moving on to the next.
11. Upgrade your key skills
We need to learn new things all the time, we need to get better all the time or we will fall behind. Read my article that delves deeper into this subject.
12. Leverage your special talents
Jim Collins shares in his book “From Good to Great” a tool called the Hedgehog Concept.
It helps you find your purpose (or companies purpose) by identifying; “What you could be the best in the world at, what you have a passion for and you economic denominator (how you are going to make money).”
This tip is very much the same advice.
13. Indentify key constraints
Every goal will have a bottle neck, something that needs to be moved out of the way before you can really pick up speed.
By excelling at identifying these constraints and dealing with them accordingly you will increase the pace which you move towards your goals by a lot.
14. Put the pressure on yourself
Deadlines has proven power to increase efficiency, we work harder when we have a time constraint.
Put that constraint on yourself.
15. Maximize your personal powers
What he means is basically to take care of yourself, make sure to get enough sleep, rest, to spend enough time with your family and so on. Because if you do not you will start producing worse and worse results.
16. Motivate yourself into action
Be your own cheerleader, keep cheering yourself on and motivate yourself to produce great results.
17. Get out of technological time sinks
Technology gives us lots of great tools that save us time.
Sometimes though we get caught up in the tools and methods and waste more time than we save.
Unplug once in a while and let yourself refresh.
18. Slice and dice tasks
This is an interesting tool, break up larger tasks into small pieces and just take one piece at a time or just vow to work 15 minutes on the task at hand.
19. Create large chunks of time
Many tasks require a focused effort over a longer period of time to be completed efficiently and at a high quality.
Schedule time that you can give to those specific tasks. Schedule an hour here, two there and treat them as they are as important as a meeting. They cannot be moved, it must be done.
20. Develop a sense of urgency
If you have planned your day before hand you know what you need to do during the day. Develop a sense of urgency; finish those tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Remember that every minute you spend talking to a colleague about the weather is one minute less you can spend with your friends and family.
21. Single handle every task
Multi tasking feels like it saves us time, but in reality it doesn’t. .
Is the book for you?
If you have procrastination problems; if you find yourself putting things off or waiting for a better opportunity, then you should read this book.
The 21 tips offer great ways to cure those procrastination problems and will help you become more efficient, effective and attractive in today’s high competition market.