“Eat That Frog” is a book written by productivity expert, Brian Tracy. If you are struggling with achieving your goals or you just want to become more and more productive – this article is for you!
Learn how to overcome procrastination and become successful in each area of your life. After reading this article you will know the actual meaning of Eating That Frog and the basics of 21 principles that Brian Tracy incorporated in his book called “Eat That Frog”.
What Does Eat That Frog Actually Mean?
A frog is a metaphor for a task. But, not just a usual task. The task that is voluminous, the most important, and has the biggest impact on your development. The one you are most likely to procrastinate on. “Eating” that frog just means doing the task. But as you will learn, the process of Eating That Frog is not as simple as the definition of its metaphor.
Eat That Frog: 21 Principles are 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. If you want to Eat That Frog most effectively, you should master those 21 steps, which summarization is underneath.
Eat That Frog: 21 Principles
1. Set the Table
Before you start, deciding what you want to achieve is extremely important. Tracy says that the lack of clarity is the major cause of procrastination. You aren’t able to prioritize your tasks if you don’t know what you are aiming for.
Consider what you want to achieve in every aspect of your life and write down your goals so they can become real. You’ll find it easier to stay focused on your work if you know what it’s for.
2. Plan Every Day in Advance
Every minute spent in planning saves up to 10 minutes in execution. It only takes a few minutes to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will help you to get rid of wasted time and diffused effort throughout the day.
All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Make out your list the night before to make your subconscious mind work on it while you sleep. This might result in coming up with new, better ideas after waking up. Repeat this continuously and watch yourself become more effective, productive, and efficient.
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
The 80/20 rule – also known as Pareto’s principle – states that 20% of your tasks/activities will bring you 80% of the results. Focusing on your frogs ensures that you’re always prioritizing the 20% of tasks that have the greatest importance.
That’s the reason why you need to define your goals, break them down into tasks, and work on one main task every day.
4. Consider the Consequences
You need to ask yourself frequently what are the consequences of doing or not doing your tasks.
- Which tasks will have the biggest impact on the outcome?
- Which will have the biggest impact on your development?
- Which of them don’t have any impact on your life?
Those exemplary questions will help you focus on the most important tasks, and maybe get rid of those which don’t bring value into your life.
5. Practice Creative Procrastination
Procrastination is usually associated with something bad, but the truth is that it has a negative connotation because we typically procrastinate on big, difficult tasks – our frogs. Of course, the resources of human energy are limited, but if you want to become a high performer, you need to stop putting off your frogs and instead put off the low-value tasks, which aren’t urgent.
6. Use the ABCDE Method Continually
The ABCDE Method is a powerful prioritizing strategy that can help you figure out the importance of your tasks. Once you have already created your list of tasks for the upcoming day, it’s high time to sort them out using this method.
The power of this technique lies in its simplicity. All you need to do is place an A, B, C, D, or E before each item on your list. “A” items are the most important, “B” items only have minor consequences, “C” tasks have no consequences, “D” tasks can be delegated, and “E” items can be eliminated. The key to reaching your goals is to spend your time on the activities that add the most value to your life.
7. Focus on Key Results Areas
A key result area is defined as something for which you are completely responsible. It’s a type of activity that is under your control. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
Your work can probably be broken down into several areas. You need to identify those where you have the biggest impact and focus on giving your maximal contribution to these areas. It will yield a good outcome.
8. Apply the Law of Three
Limit yourself to only doing three important things as they will account for 90% of the results. To identify these tasks, consider which task from your list would provide the greatest value if you had to do it all day. The one you chose is the task you should start with. Do this twice to get your list of three.
It’s extremely important to apply this law because having too much to get done can easily become overwhelming and instead of progressing you will stray off feeling lost.
9. Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
Having everything you need at hand before you begin is the key to avoiding distraction and getting more things done faster. When you are fully prepared before you start, you can continuously focus on your work and become more effective.
Gather all the information, details, and work materials that you will require to complete your job. Be sure that you can reach them without getting up and looking for them somewhere in your room/office. Set up your work area so that it is both comfortable and attractive. Follow these steps every day to increase your productivity.
10. Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time
Get your mind off the huge task in front of you and focus on a single action that you can take. The best way to eat a large frog is to take it one bite at a time.
Thinking of how demanding and time-consuming your task is might be overwhelming and demotivating. It is better to break it down into smaller tasks and immediately start doing them one by one.
11. Upgrade Your Key Skills
To maximize your efficiency you need to continuously learn what you need to learn to become excellent in your field. The better you are at doing your tasks, the more likely you are to get it done faster.
A major reason for procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy, uncertainty, and inability. By upgrading your key skills, you will get rid of these feelings and become a productive person.
Remember that no matter how good you are today, if you don’t upgrade your skills, they will become obsolete at a rapid rate, so never stop learning.
12. Identify Your Key Constraints
Identifying things that are holding you back is as much important as identifying your frogs or key skills. What is stopping you from achieving your goals? What sets the speed at which you achieve your goals? Why aren’t you at your goal already?
These are exemplary questions you need to ask yourself frequently. Remember to be honest with yourself while looking for an answer. Your job is to decrease the impact of those limiting factors so you can become more productive.
13. Put the Pressure on Yourself
Stop waiting for someone who will lead you to become the person you wish you were. You need to take charge of your life and put pressure on yourself.
Most people think someone will come along and motivate them to become the better version of themselves. As Tracy says, they are waiting for the bus on a street where no buses pass. Only about 2% of people can work entirely without supervision. They are called “leaders”. You need to become a leader, and you can become a leader if you want to achieve your goals.
14. Motivate Yourself into Action
To perform at your best continually, you have to become your own cheerleader. Your internal thoughts shape your emotions. You need to become an optimist to disallow negative thoughts to overwhelm the positive ones.
Responding positively to all the words, actions, and reactions around you will let you keep yourself motivated. You can’t allow yourself to get discouraged by some negative feedback. Keep your energy focused on moving forwards.
15. Technology Is a Terrible Master
Nowadays, technology can affect your daily life badly. When checking your social media, messages or else becomes a habit, you must know that technology has become your enemy. The obsessive compulsion to stay plugged in not only wastes your time but also makes it harder to collect your thoughts or think clearly.
You have to keep your relationship with technology under control. The key to performing at your best is staying calm, clearheaded, and fully focused. Technology abuse is stopping you from thriving.
16. Technology Is a Wonderful Servant
Start treating technology as a servant, not as a master. Discipline yourself to use technology to make your life easier, not to kill your spare time.
Many technological tools can help you optimize your work, remind you of important things, and protect you from those, which are the least important. Remember, technology is just a tool, so use it wisely.
17. Focus Your Attention
Focused attention is the key factor to high performance. Interruptions you experience every day lead you to diffused attention, lack of focus, and underachievement.
If you want to eat your frog both effectively and fast, you need to entirely focus your attention. Turn off notifications that may distract you and cut down on using technology early in the morning and before sleeping.
18. Slice and Dice the Task
The main reason why people often procrastinate on doing demanding, important tasks is that they seem to be so large and solid when they first approach them. Fortunately, there is a technique called the “salami slice” method, which you might find extremely helpful in this kind of situation.
With this method, you lay out the task in detail by writing down every step in order, and then resolve to do just one slice of the job for the time being. You will find it easier to do a single piece of a large project than to start on the whole job. Keep doing consecutive slices of the task, and before you could blink, you’ll be done.
19. Create Large Chunks of Time
Time blocking, which is a time management strategy that involves breaking your day into blocks of time, allows you to properly schedule your day. Your frogs will require large chunks of unbroken time to get completed.
Time blocking lets you make your day more organized. Also, it makes you gain productivity and discipline. Start using this strategy today and watch yourself thrive every single day.
20. Develop a Sense of Urgency
Stop putting off your frogs. The most successful people are action-oriented, meaning that they have developed a sense of urgency in getting their tasks completed.
Take your time to think, plan and set priorities. Then launch quickly and strongly toward your goals. If you work steadily, smoothly, and continuously, you will find it easier to get into your “flow” state, which is the highest human state of performance and productivity.
21. Single Handle Every Task
Every great achievement has to be preceded by a long period of hard, concentrated work until the job is done. You won’t reach your goals if you keep getting distracted from your tasks. Single handling requires that once you begin, you keep working, without diversion or distraction, until the job is fully completed. It’s the key to making your work the most effective and productive. It has been estimated that the tendency to pick up a task, put it down, and come back to it later can increase the time necessary to complete the task by up to 500%.