Procrastination is a tough bit of mental terrain to navigate. Even if you aren’t a procrastinator, are you really making the best use of your work time? Ever become daunted by the enormity of an upcoming project? There are tons of approaches to overcoming the blocks between ourselves and our goals, simply researching what methods to try can be a chore unto itself.
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy has all the answers simplified and compiled into one book that is very quick to read, and you’ll immediately thank yourself for having read it.
There’s an old saying that goes something like “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Eat That Frog! cites this phrase and expands on it to provide a more complete plan on how to start big tasks and how to form habits out of the steps so that going through the motions becomes easier each time.
What is the Frog? The Frog is the biggest scariest task on a person’s agenda that gets put off. Eating frogs sounds unpleasant and if it must be done, one would probably avoid it right? Time’s up. Eat that frog.
(Don’t worry, literal amphibian consumption is not required at any step.)
It all begins with habits. The three major steps (The Three Ds) can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, but the ideas are fairly universal. For new habit formation you must follow these in order:
Decision, Discipline, Determination
First one must decide what they want to do. It seems simple enough but it’s easy to run circles around ideas without ever making even one single real plan. Write down a goal as clearly and specifically as possible. If it’s a monumental task break it up into smaller chunks with deadlines. Leave out wiggle room for excuses.
Second it’s crucial to stick to the plan. Common distractions are the smaller tasks on an agenda that are unrelated to the big goal. Don’t be tempted by checking emails or minor side projects that can be done faster. A work day can fill up with low importance stuff all day every day very easily, but those things aren’t why the employee is on the payroll. The Frogs are. The big daunting things that only they can do. Brian Tracy points out that studies show people are not actually better under pressure and they are not good at multitasking despite what many like to claim. Stay disciplined, stay focused.
Third and last but not at all least is building momentum from harnessing the power of the combined two prior tasks. Once the first few goals of any Frog-level task are complete, an instant sense of accomplishment makes the next task easier to kick off. Same with the next. Eventually all of this will become habit, and you will be filled with determination.
The author provides additional notes on how to cut down on outside distractions and time wasters. It can be difficult to realize how much time is wasted on things we enjoy and even on things we severely dislike doing. Many of the tasks of smaller importance that drag us down can be delegated to someone else. Some practical advice is not to be afraid to seek help from managers in dividing tasks away so as to focus more of our productivity time on Frogs.
Also, say no more frequently to things that are not of highest importance. Treat your time as valuable because your time is valuable. Be polite, but say no firmly. Many more motivational insights are described in Eat That Frog! than can possibly be listed here, and the short chapter length makes it a perfect audio book for a commute to the office.