The HR Juggler

Eating Your Frogs

Posted on: May 19, 2011

I have recently read Eat That Frog, a book by Brian Tracy that promises to provide “21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.” I was already familiar with the concept of eating your frog, i.e. tackling the most difficult and dreaded tasks first and getting them out of the way, but am always open to ways of managing my time better.

I’m not sure I could say the book has entirely changed my working life, but it does have some good tips and useful reminders, some of which I have implemented and thought I would share –

1) Written goals are powerful – identify what you want to achieve, which of these goals will make the biggest difference to your life  and what the steps are to making it happen…and write it down!

2) Plan your day in advance, ideally the night before. Identify which of the tasks are the high value ‘frogs’ with real consequences for you and the business. Always do these first.

3) Understand where the true value of your ‘to do’ list lies – its usually 20% of your activities that account for 80% of your results.

4) Its OK to creatively procrastinate and choose not to do low-value tasks

5) Bite-size chunks are fine on the most complicated, difficult tasks; the trick is to get moving and keep moving on them in a systematic way

6) Work with a sense of urgency, be optimistic about the positives and when you can, structure your day so that you tackle your toughest tasks at the times when you have most mental and physical energy

7) Use technology to maximise your efficiency, but don’t be ruled by it. Turn the phone, laptop, blackberry off…and enjoy the silence, for at least one day a week

8 ) Prioritise relentlessly.

9) Focus while you are at work, so that you can fully switch off while you’re at home

10) Going to bed early is often the most effective thing you can do to have a productive day at work the next day

So, I’m resolving to eat a few more frogs and create some good habits which last.  And I’m quite proud to have written this post within a day of finishing the book 🙂

How about you – any tips to share?

10 Responses to "Eating Your Frogs"

Hi Alison

Procrastination – something I also struggle with. I have just finished ‘The Now Habit’ and one of the tips from it was to focus on planning down time, so you ensure you are productive during working hours to make the most of the free time. It also looks into the psychology of why we subconsciously sabotage ourselves by procrastinating: forcing ourselves to do less than perfect work in limited time. Its a form of ‘self protection’ – not having enough time gives the excuse for having produced a piece of work we are less than satisfied with.

Other tips were ‘just start’ – avoid putting off, just start for 30 minutes and reward yourself for 30 minutes of unbroken concentration. Once started, it is easier to continue.

The book had some interesting points but tended to be repetitive at times. Having said that, I did get something from it. I can’t say I am cured but I have improved a bit, and I recognise now what distracts me and try to avoid giving in to temptation! (*cough* Twitter *cough*)

Good luck!

Thanks for commenting Gill – interesting psychological points about the whole topic. I love ‘just start’ – that was something I took away from reading the book too.

Like you I am not sure I am an entirely changed woman, but I have made some improvements and I guess thats what its all about really 🙂

May I suggest frying the frog first? 🙂

Some useful stuff here Alison, I like number one – though I confess I don’t do it often enough. Must try harder…

Cheers – Doug

Me too, me too…but hey, we all have to start somewhere 😉 Thanks for commenting

Great post Alison!

I’ve been procrastinating my blog catch up…until I saw yours! And I’m even replying 🙂 no more delays!

I find that I avoid doing the bits I don’t like or have passion for, but once I have done it I feel so much better.

I also like the idea of switching off from technology to concentrate and focus. I did that today for 1hr!
Sat down with a pen and paper and sketched out my process maps in a creative way. When it came to getting the task done, it was easy peasy no more procrastinating portugueasy 🙂 … until tomorrow that is!

I should do n.10 more often…ideally before 10pm 🙂

Lovely to hear from Jose…and yes no 10 is always my biggest battle but a fantastically effective means of having a productive, brighter day the next day 🙂

Another fantastic post, although I’m now feeling guilty because, if I’m honest, being here is procrastinating. Also love Gill’s tip of ‘just start’.

Right that’s it. You’ve all inspired me. Twitter is going off this very minute.

LOL…that’s the only problem isn’t it 🙂 Thanks for commenting, catch you later on when you’ve had a well deserved break!

Love the post Alison!

It’s funny how we often think of procrastination in the negative or psychological sense but if you grab a dictionary it only means to delay, put off or postpone. There’s some comfort and deeper meaning in there.

I can delay unnecessarily like the rest of us. However, I also know that my best work often comes at the last moment when there is a very tangible clarity and energy which didn’t exist until that moment. Call it “in the moment” or what you will but there are sometimes benefits to procrastinating which we may not appreciate.

If you’ve not seen it there’s also a very large conversation on this on the EMCC LinkedIn Group here http://linkd.in/mULcRI.

Thanks for commenting David and you’re right – sometimes delaying is not always as negative as it sounds, thankfully 🙂

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