Being productive is not easy. It’s really hard. With an overload of notifications, busywork, meetings and responsibilities it’s tough to learn how to be productive these days and especially stick with it.
An easy-read book that can help you reset how you rework your priorities and learn how to be productive is Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. Here are a few reviews for a better peek at what you can expect:
“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
Something I started doing before reading Eat That Frog! has been writing down my goals. But wait, I didn’t stop there, I then wrote down all the tasks that would get me to those goals. Then I added deadlines to those tasks that would eventually lead to each goal.
Some tasks are daily, like drinking 5+ glasses of water and reading every night. Other tasks are weekly, like attending Toastmasters on Wednesday nights and going to at least one Pilates/Yoga class a week. Then there are monthly goals or one-off goals that need to be completed just once, like buying a better camera lens or signing up for a leadership conference or retreat. Those are all small tasks that serve a purpose that will help achieve my main goals for the year.
Writing all that down felt amazing! I wrote down a massive list a few months ago and it helped me see what I really want, or at least what to focus on for the next 1-2 years. And guess what!? As soon as I saw what I wanted on paper, things started happening. Promotion, weight loss (7lbs – I’m not talking miracles here), speaking engagements… It’s not because of the laws of The Secret as much I started working towards my written goals, so of course things starting falling into place. I started to build momentum towards my goals and that, my friends, turned ideas into reality. Action can best happen when you clearly know and visualize your goals.
Back to Eat That Frog!. I first heard about this book a while before finally ordering it. It aligns with something I heard Tim Ferriss talk about when he builds out his goals / To Do lists — the idea of writing down your goals each day and tackling that ONE thing first that would make every other task obsolete or irrelevant, and steering away from all the fluff we tend to consume our time with. Fluff being living in your inbox (I have a PHD in that!), attending every meeting, doing other people’s projects rather than keeping your eyes on that one most important thing that you need to accomplish TODAY.
These big tasks we’re faced with on the daily represent a big, nasty frog. No one wants to eat it (especially first thing in the morning), but if you want to get things done then you have to. I know, it sucks; it’s not fun nor easy, but it can really change the way you view priorities and tasks for yourself and your team. When you accomplish that ONE big thing, you feel amazing. That one big thing can be anything from a massive report for your boss, writing and practicing a speech you’re giving in a few weeks, writing a brief for your team so they can start the project, working out, getting a contract in place…
Accomplishing that one big thing gives you confidence, and it starts to train your brain to focus on real priorities rather than getting the easy little things completed first. It’s easy to procrastinate on the big, important tasks, which then gives you the green light to waste your time on the easy things first. Easy things are nothing but jolts of instant gratification. If you hold out longer, and work on that one big scary task you keep postponing you’ll feel loads better then replying to random emails. Plus, you might get more recognition from those around you since it’s the big things that can make a massive impact vs. the little daily tasks.
From reading Eat That Frog!, I learned how to be productive by looking that one big, ugly task square in the face, and eat it until there’s nothing left. Until it’s dead, done, finito. With my tail between my legs, I admit that I stopped eating frogs for two months because I was traveling for work, Christmas break happened, and I just survived another holiday season at work which was literally non-stop for 40ish days. But, I’m back – give me a fat frog, I’m ready!
Have you read Eat That Frog!? Being productive is a daily struggle for me, as there’s always that Mile-High-To-Do list, the Wish-I-Could-Do list, and the When-I-Have-Time-I’ll-Do list. How do you tackle your priority list?