Time Management: Eat That Frog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

While working on putting together a time management class, I've asked a lot of people what they need help with when it comes to finding more time to get things done.

I really believe that we have all the time we need if we effectively manage it. It's all about making your time work for you. I know, it's a lot easier said than done. But I think you'll find when you attempt to manage your time and make it work for you, you can find the time to do the things you really want to do instead of only doing things you have to do.

One of my favorite time management principles comes from a book called, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. His book is all about ways to get more done in less time. And the main idea is simply to do the worst thing on the list first!

Let's say your to-do list looks something like this:

make dinner
pay bills
respond to e-mails
eat a frog

Now obviously, the worst thing on that list is eating a frog! And if you had to do, you would want to do it first. Here are some notes from the 1st 6 pages of the book (that I found here):

    "Your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to start on that task and get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop! If you develop the habit of setting clear priorities and getting important tasks completed quickly, you will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but gets very little done. 
     An old saying is that "If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!" Your "FROG" is the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it now! It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment. 
     It has also been said that "If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first!" This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else. 
     You can think of it as a "TEST" or personal challenge. You must resist the temptation to start with the easier task! You must continually remind yourself that one of the most important decisions you make each day is your choice of what you will do immediately and what you will do later --- if you do it at all!
     One final assumption is "If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time!" MAIN IDEA = The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is for you to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. 
    You must develop the routine of "eating your frog" before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it! Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete."

So what are we all waiting for?! I think it's time to eat some frogs! What is your frog tomorrow? Do it (or eat it) first, and see how much more you accomplish in a day. 

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