Book Review: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog is a great book on time management which takes you through specific tips on getting more done. It’s a straight up practical guide with no extraneous theory!

There is nothing wrong in reading copious research on productivity but if only we had all the time under the sun, we wouldn’t be reading a book on productivity, right!!

The tag line for the book is – 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. And my advice is to start with the tips that work best for you. You can then add more to your routine.

So WHAT EXACTLY IS THE FROG THAT WE SHOULD EAT?

A frog is the most challenging project in your list, which when finished has the greatest positive impact on your business and life.

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy (photo credit)

The frog could be goals from any area of your life – personal, professional, fitness, personal improvement or anything else.

Here are a few tips that I like in the book:

1. SET THE TABLE

The video in this post is from the very first chapter. And this makes the most sense to me.

It clearly lays out how to break down your frog into chewable bites so it is more manageable and edible!

Here are 6 tips from the book to help you clearly plan effective frog-eating:

1. Clarity: What is it that you want to achieve?

2. Write it down: This helps to make your goals concrete

Create a plan outlining each task that goes into your ultimate goal.

3. Set deadlines/sub deadlines: To put an ETA on your goals

4. List of activities/steps that lead to the goal: Break down your goals into all the steps that take you to completion

5. Organise into a visual chart: Use boxes, circles, lines and arrows to make it more visual

6. Take action immediately: The smallest action possible to take you a little closer to your goal

This is like a blueprint clearly laid out for the path ahead. Once all the steps are clear, one can start eating the frog, one bite at a time.

2. PLAN EVERYDAY IN ADVANCE

I totally believe in this. There are times when I know there is a lot to do. But picking the most relevant task for the moment seems tough. That’s when I tend to procrastinate and meander.

But if I pick important tasks for the next day, it keeps me more focussed. Sometimes, I even open the relevant tabs the previous night to minimise the risk of distractions.

So go back to your visual chart and pick out tasks you want to do the next day. Remember that you may not be able to reach the final goal, but accomplishing one task that takes you closer to it is achievement enough.

3. APPLY THE 80/20 RULE

If we have a list of tasks, we tend to focus on the little tasks to avoid getting on with the bigger, harder task. And that is the frog we need to get to.

The trick is to resist the temptation to get the smaller things out of the way and get started with the big one.

Working on bigger but important goals in your life – the 20% – will give you the maximum benefits – the 80%.

So focus on working on those tasks consistently.

4. IDENTIFY THE KEY CONSTRAINTS

“What is holding you back?”

Identify the limiting factor and overcome that. Whether it is one task or a business, a single choke point can derail your best plans. Once you identify it, focus on alleviating it.

5. CREATE LARGE CHUNKS OF TIME

I am currently reading Deep Work By Cal Newport and this point is corroborated there too.

Quality work is never achieved through distractions. Most great writers have stuck to a writing routine and sat down to it even if they did not have the inspiration. And that’s how stalwarts like Stephen King have produced the kind of body of work.

So schedule blocks of time – set a timer, follow Pomodoro, find the nest techniques that work for you – and stick to your task with 100% focus.

6. SINGLE HANDLE EVERY TASK

Remember the visual chart we made in chapter one? Your success depends on the ability to pick one task from your chart – towards one of your goals – and focus on it whole-heartedly till you complete that step.

Create self-discipline to ensure that you don’t give up till that one task is complete.

There are so many more tips in the book that can be useful to you depending on your time management needs. And I recommend that you go through this slim but very useful guide to personal productivity.

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