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Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
     

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

4.1 86
by Brian Tracy
 

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There just isn't enough time for everything on our "To Do" list -- and there never will be. Successful people don't try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done. There's 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 probably the

Overview

There just isn't enough time for everything on our "To Do" list -- and there never will be. Successful people don't try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done. There's 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 probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day -- the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life -- Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day. You'll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done. Bestselling author Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective personal time management: decision, discipline, and determination. He details twenty-one practical and doable steps that will help you stop procrastinating and get more of the important tasks done -- today!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“BEWARE: This book will have a profound impact on your working practices and the results you'll achieve. Eat That Frog! challenges your working practices, it explains the self-discipline needed to succeed, and [it] firmly gets to the root cause of why people procrastinate. Then it effortlessly explains how to boost your productivity once and for all.”
—Micro Business Hub

“If you find procrastination to be a consistent problem in your life, Eat
That Frog! offers a concise and valuable collection of tactics to try. The reasons for each person's procrastination are different, so it's good that Tracy's tactics are fairly diverse and attack many different avenues of procrastination.”
—The Simple Dollar

“Eat That Frog! is my favourite book on productivity, and I often find myself rereading it in January to remind myself of the disciplines and practices I'd like to follow in the coming year. Each time I read the book, I find new nuggets of productivity gold.”
—Liz Gooster, Change for the Better

“Everyone has a frog, and eating that frog is the best thing you can do to stop procrastinating. Procrastination is a time-killer, and Tracy has a way of making getting over that frog fun and exciting. Every chapter presents a new idea, tip, and technique that will help you overcome that inner laziness that keeps you on the couch at night instead of in the gym.”
—Peanut Press

“Eat That Frog!, small in pages but huge in content, offers a cure for the curse of modern-day living: procrastination. Even though the medicine sounds painful (bush tucker trail kind of stuff), it isn't. Like you,
I have read zillions of books—and most of the time I can't remember anything that I have just read. Not with this one. I'm eating frogs daily and feeling better for it! I can't recommend Eat That Frog! enough.”
—Corinna Richards, The Coaching Academy

“This book gave me the kick in the pants I needed to organize my to do lists, plan my days, become more productive, and get focused.”
—Beth Anne Schwamberger, Brilliant Business Moms

“Eat That Frog! is the most accessible book on time management and personal productivity—I recommend you read this one before you learn any particular time management system. There are tons of exercises and techniques that you can implement right away, and that is what I like the most about the book—it gives you actionable steps so you can start right away.”
—Thanh Pham, Asian Effi ciency

“An impactful read. The 21 ways that [Tracy] shares are real game changers, if you read with an eye towards self-improvement and an intention to make a change. I have benefi ted greatly from this book, and I highly recommend that you pick up your own copy today.”
—Chris Moore, Reflect on This

“We strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to manage her time well and also add value to herself in this competitive world.”
—The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership

“I wasn't expecting all that much from the book initially, as the whole ‘eating a frog' seemed like some new age nonsense that didn't really apply in real life. I couldn't have been more wrong. The best thing about this book is that it actually tells you what you should do. It doesn't just spout philosophy after philosophy about dreams and hope. It gives solid, practical advice that applies to pretty much every one—students, employees, stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs, etc. Whether you're having time management issues or not, I'd recommend you pick up this book. You're sure to learn something useful from it.”
—Fab, Shocks and Shoes

“This book distinguishes itself from others of the same type by laying out specific guidelines for developing the self-discipline that allows you to start and complete important tasks in sequence. Each of the 21 chapters offers clear instructions and practice exercises to help you determine if you are making the best use of your time at any given moment. You'll learn how to prepare yourself mentally and physically to tackle the task at hand, along with strategies for dividing it into manageable segments to keep you moving forward. You'll even find out what to tell yourself to do if you're having trouble getting started, or become distracted and need to get back on track.”
—Carnegie Library Business Librarians, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574535679
Publisher:
Audio Literature
Publication date:
09/09/2004
Edition description:
Unabridged, 2 CDs, 2 hours
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Eat That Frog!

21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time


By Brian Tracy

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2017 Brian Tracy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62656-941-6



CHAPTER 1

Set the Table

There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.

Napoleon Hill


Before you can determine your "frog" and get on with the job of eating it, you have to decide exactly what you want to achieve in each area of your life. Clarity is perhaps the most important concept in personal productivity. The number one reason why some people get more work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives, and they don't deviate from them. The greater clarity you have regarding what you want and the steps you will have to take to achieve it, the easier it will be for you to overcome procrastination, eat your frog, and complete the task before you.

A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is vagueness, confusion, and fuzzy-mindedness about what you are trying to do and in what order and for what reason. You must avoid this common condition with all your strength by striving for ever-greater clarity in your major goals and tasks.


Here is a great rule for success: Think on paper.

Only about 3 percent of adults have clear, written goals. These people accomplish five and ten times as much as people of equal or better education and ability but who, for whatever reason, have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want.

There is a powerful formula for setting and achieving goals that you can use for the rest of your life. It consists of seven simple steps. Any one of these steps can double and triple your productivity if you are not currently using it. Many of my graduates have increased their incomes dramatically in a matter of a few years, or even a few months, with this simple, seven-part method.

Step one: Decide exactly what you want. Either decide for yourself or sit down with your boss and discuss your goals and objectives until you are crystal clear about what is expected of you and in what order of priority. It is amazing how many people are working away, day after day, on low-value tasks because they have not had this critical discussion with their managers.

One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.

Stephen Covey says, "If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster."

Step two: Write it down. Think on paper. When you write down a goal, you crystallize it and give it tangible form. You create something that you can touch and see. On the other hand, a goal or objective that is not in writing is merely a wish or a fantasy. It has no energy behind it. Unwritten goals lead to confusion, vagueness, misdirection, and numerous mistakes.

Step three: Set a deadline on your goal; set subdeadlines if necessary. A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency. It has no real beginning or end. Without a definite deadline accompanied by the assignment or acceptance of specific responsibilities for completion, you will naturally procrastinate and get very little done.

Step four: Make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. As you think of new activities, add them to your list. Keep building your list until it is complete. A list gives you a visual picture of the larger task or objective. It gives you a track to run on. It dramatically increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goal as you have defined it and on schedule.

Step five: Organize the list into a plan. Organize your list by priority and sequence. List all tasks in the order they need to be done. Take a few minutes to decide what you need to do first and what you can do later. Decide what has to be done before something else and what needs to be done afterward.

Even better, lay out your plan visually in the form of a series of boxes and circles on a sheet of paper, with lines and arrows showing the relationship of each task to every other task. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to achieve your goal when you break it down into individual tasks.

With a written goal and an organized plan of action, you will be far more productive and efficient than people who are carrying their goals around in their minds.

Step six: Take action on your plan immediately. Do something. Do anything. An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done. For you to achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.

Step seven: Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal. Build this activity into your daily schedule. You may decide to read a specific number of pages on a key subject. You may call on a specific number of prospects or customers. You may engage in a specific period of physical exercise. You may learn a certain number of new words in a foreign language. Whatever it is, you must never miss a day.

Keep pushing forward. Once you start moving, keep moving. Don't stop. This decision, this discipline alone, can dramatically increase your speed of goal accomplishment and boost your personal productivity.


The Power of Written Goals

Clear written goals have a wonderful effect on your thinking. They motivate you and galvanize you into action. They stimulate your creativity, release your energy, and help you overcome procrastination as much as any other factor.

Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. The bigger your goals and the clearer they are, the more excited you become about achieving them. The more you think about your goals, the greater becomes your inner drive and your desire to accomplish them.

Think about your goals and review them daily. Every morning when you begin, take action on the most important task you can accomplish to achieve your most important goal at the moment.


EAT THAT FROG!

1. Take a clean sheet of paper right now and make a list of ten goals you want to accomplish in the next year. Write your goals as though a year has already passed and they are now a reality.

Use the present tense, positive voice, and first person singular so that they are immediately accepted by your subconscious mind. For example, you could write, "I earn x number of dollars per year by this date" or "I weigh x number of pounds by this date" or "I drive such and such a car by this date."


2. Review your list of ten goals and select the one goal that, if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive impact on your life. Whatever that goal is, write it on a separate sheet of paper, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan, and then do something every single day that moves you toward that goal. This exercise alone could change your life!

CHAPTER 2

Plan Every Day in Advance

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.

ALAN LAKEIN


You have heard the old question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is "One bite at a time!" How do you eat your biggest, ugliest frog? The same way: you break it down into specific step-by-step activities and then you start on the first one.

Your mind, your ability to think, plan, and decide, is your most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity. Your ability to set goals, make plans, and take action on them determines the course of your life. The very act of thinking and planning unlocks your mental powers, triggers your creativity, and increases your mental and physical energies.

Conversely, as Alec Mackenzie wrote, "Taking action without thinking things through is a prime source of problems."

Your ability to make good plans before you act is a measure of your overall competence. The better the plan you have, the easier it is for you to overcome procrastination, to get started, to eat your frog, and then to keep going.


Increase Your Return on Energy

One of your top goals at work should be to get the highest possible return on your investment of your mental, emotional, and physical energy. The good news is that every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffuse effort throughout the day.

You may have heard of the Six-P Formula. It says, "Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance."

When you consider how helpful planning can be in increasing your productivity and performance, it is amazing how few people practice it every single day. And planning is really quite simple to do. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. The most sophisticated Outlook system, computer app, or time planner is based on the same principle. It is based on your sitting down and making a list of everything you have to do before you begin.


Two Extra Hours per Day

Always work from a list. When something new comes up, add it to the list before you do it. You can increase your productivity and output by 25 percent or more — about two hours a day — from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.

Make your list the night before for the workday ahead. Move everything that you have not yet accomplished onto your list for the coming day, and then add everything that you have to do the next day. When you make your list the night before, your subconscious mind will work on your list all night long while you sleep. Often you will wake up with great ideas and insights that you can use to get your job done faster and better than you had initially thought.

The more time you take to make written lists of everything you have to do, in advance, the more effective and efficient you will be.


Different Lists for Different Purposes

You need different lists for different purposes. First, you should create a master list on which you write down everything you can think of that you want to do sometime in the future. This is the place where you capture every idea and every new task or responsibility that comes up. You can sort out the items later.

Second, you should have a monthly list that you make at the end of the month for the month ahead. This may contain items transferred from your master list.

Third, you should have a weekly list where you plan your entire week in advance. This is a list that is under construction as you go through the current week.

This discipline of systematic time planning can be very helpful to you. Many people have told me that the habit of taking a couple of hours at the end of each week to plan the coming week has increased their productivity dramatically and changed their lives completely. This technique will work for you as well.

Finally, you should transfer items from your monthly and weekly lists onto your daily list. These are the specific activities that you are going to accomplish the following day.

As you work through the day, tick off the items on your list as you complete them. This activity gives you a visual picture of accomplishment. It generates a feeling of success and forward motion. Seeing yourself working progressively through your list motivates and energizes you. It raises your self-esteem and self-respect. Steady, visible progress propels you forward and helps you overcome procrastination.


Planning a Project

When you have a project of any kind, begin by making a list of every step that you will have to complete to finish the project from beginning to end. Organize the steps by priority, what is most important, and sequence, which tasks you must complete in order. Lay out the project in front of you on paper or on a computer-based project planner so that you can see every step and task. Then go to work on one task at a time. You will be amazed at how much you get done in this way.

As you work through your lists, you will feel more and more effective and powerful. You will feel more in control of your life. You will be naturally motivated to do even more. You will think better and more creatively, and you will get more and better insights that enable you to do your work even faster.

As you work steadily through your lists, you will develop a sense of positive forward momentum that enables you to overcome procrastination. This feeling of progress gives you more energy and keeps you going throughout the day.

One of the most important rules of personal effectiveness is the 10/90 Rule. This rule says that the first 10 percent of time that you spend planning and organizing your work before you begin will save you as much as 90 percent of the time in getting the job done once you get started. You only have to try this rule once to prove it to yourself.

When you plan each day in advance, you will find it much easier to get going and to keep going. The work will go faster and smoother than ever before. You will feel more powerful and competent. You will get more done faster than you thought possible. Eventually, you will become unstoppable.


EAT THAT FROG!

1. Begin today to plan every day, week, and month in advance. Take a notepad or sheet of paper (or use your smartphone) and make a list of everything you have to do in the next twenty-four hours. Add to your list as new items come up. Make a list of all your projects, the big multitask jobs that are important to your future.


2. Lay out all of your major goals, projects, and tasks by priority, what is most important, and by sequence, what has to be done first, what comes second, and so forth. Start with the end in mind and work backward.

Think on paper! Always work from a list. You'll be amazed at how much more productive you become and how much easier it is to eat your frog.

CHAPTER 3

Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything

We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE


The 80/20 Rule is one of the most helpful of all concepts of time and life management. It is also called the "Pareto Principle" after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who first wrote about it in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in his society seemed to divide naturally into what he called the "vital few," the top 20 percent in terms of money and influence, and the "trivial many," the bottom 80 percent.

He later discovered that virtually all economic activity was subject to this principle as well. For example, this principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results, 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do, and so on. This means that if you have a list of ten items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth much more than the other eight items put together.


Number of Tasks versus Importance of Tasks

Here is an interesting discovery. Each of the ten tasks may take the same amount of time to accomplish. But one or two of those tasks will contribute five or ten times the value of any of the others.

Often, a single task can be worth more than all the other nine items put together. This task is invariably the frog that you should eat first.

Can you guess on which items the average person is most likely to procrastinate? The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important, the "vital few." They busy themselves instead with the least important 80 percent, the "trivial many" that contribute very little to results.


Focus on Activities, Not Accomplishments

You often see people who appear to be busy all day long but seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are busy working on tasks that are of low value while they are procrastinating on the one or two activities that, if they completed them quickly and well, could make a real difference to their companies and to their careers.

The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex. But the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous. For this reason, you must adamantly refuse to work on tasks in the bottom 80 percent while you still have tasks in the top 20 percent left to be done.

Before you begin work, always ask yourself, "Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?"

Rule: Resist the temptation to clear up small things first.


Remember, whatever you choose to do over and over eventually becomes a habit that is hard to break. If you choose to start your day working on low-value tasks, you will soon develop the habit of always starting and working on low-value tasks. This is not the kind of habit you want to develop or keep. Low-value tasks are like rabbits; they multiply continually. You never get caught up.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. Copyright © 2017 Brian Tracy. Excerpted by permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. As a keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year. He is the bestselling author of more than eighty books that have been translated into dozens of languages. He has served as a consultant and trainer to more than 1,000 corporations and more than 10,000 medium-sized enterprises in more than seventy-five countries.

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Eat That Frog! 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
pgadad4two More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Use it all the time and have recommended it to many. Great application to everyone not just procrastinators. I am a go getter and found this book great and simple to apply. It works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read it in two sittings and took it all in, this borrowed book. It is full of quotes to write down and place around my work area and at home.
Ratu More than 1 year ago
Realistic, doable steps to overcome procrastination. A must read to increase productivity.
jamnesia More than 1 year ago
I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone prone to procrastination. Between this and Flylady I should have my life in order....but the TOADS keep coming. <smile> Go eat that big ugly boy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After retiring I found myself unable to begin to painting-a passion I have wanted to be able to do. This book was amazing. I have read and re-read the book and it has helped me with so many things. I hope it will jump start you as well. pe-artist
shines1980 More than 1 year ago
If you find yourself constantly thinking, "I'll do that later, it can wait," you may also find your procrastinating ways getting into your way throughout your life. The book "Eat That Frog" by Brian Tracy has great ways to help you stop those procrastinating habits to ensure that you can get everything done in a more efficient manner. The idea behind the book is that if you get your hardest tasks done first, the rest of your day will be easier. Once the hard parts of the day are behind you, you can move forward with more pep in your step. This book is a great read for anyone with procrastinating problems.which is pretty much everyone at some point or another!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for getting you into action. It helps you prioritize tasks and overcome resistance. If you implement Brian Tracy's reccomendations and use optimal thinking, you can't go wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am ADHD inattentive type, and now passing my 26th birthday with NO job and STILL trying to complete my bachelor's degree---thus, you could safely bet your retirement savings by my HORRIBLE acts of procrastination, lateness to EVERthing, lack of self-confidence because I truly have failed in some areas in my life..... I have purchased COUNTLESS AD/HD books scouring EVERY possible tool at my fingertips to fix myself.......... none of them even having come close to the ways of going about turning my bad habits around, as this book does. This short, easy to read, book has literally changed me overnight, and I've already told and insisted to two best friends--who are each powerful leaders within their respective companies--buy this book, gift it, and make any of their employees perceived to be slacking, read it. SO worth your time & money!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for ANYONE to read. Helpful hints on stopping procrastination and a funny, quick read to boot. I'll definitely apply what I learned here.
Kimberly_Fisher More than 1 year ago
I seem to be on a Smarter Comic buying spree, as this is one of several in my kindle collection. Eat That Frog! is a time management book in comic book format. For those of you that LOVE comics, what better way to put some organization into your life? Stop procrastinating and learn efficiency with the help of award-winning author Brian Tracy, as he guides you to being a better you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"And now my plan..." he rubs his hands. "It involves a funnel tube and water. Have you done this before? Do i need to explain?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tells you what parts are tender
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I love all of the Tracy books.This one is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book to help understand yoourself and motivating yourself. Notes taken & I'm ready to work it!
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This was a really good book...foundational, in fact. But i think it could be summarized in about 10 pages. Still worth the read for those trying to understand your own habits and be more effective.
pk0224 More than 1 year ago
This book eliminates the excuses and focuses on how to "get it done" and move on. Great for anyone that finds themselves procrastinating. Offers great suggestions to help you focus and finish the tasks to be done.
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