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‘Eat that Frog’

21 Ways to beat Procrastinating and get more done

in less time by Brian Tracy

General Observations
o We are never going to get caught up – so forget about it.
o Information gathered from: Peter Drucker, Steven Covey, Alan Lake and Alex
o “you cannot teach a person what he doesn’t already know, you can only bring
what he does know to a higher level of awareness”. (Galileo)
o Model on successful people if you want to be successful – just find out what
other successful people in your field are doing and do it too.
o Concentrate on your most important task, do it well and keep going until you
finish it.
o Premise of the book: “If you start a day by eating a live frog, you know it will
be the worst thing you have to do all day” Mark Twain
o Do NOT confuse ACTIVITY with ACCOMPLISHMENT – set your priorities
o Completing important tasks correlates with feeling great – and addiction to
the endorphins created
o Develop the habits of focus and concentration
o 3 Qualities to cultivate: 1. Make Decisions. 2. Apply Discipline. 3. Be
determined – keep going until you finish
o Visualising the outcome is critical

CHAPTER 1: Set the Table

 Start with purpose – in each area of your life get clarity on what you want
 This includes The End you want & The steps involved
 Fuzzy mindedness and vagueness (lack of clarity) will end the dream
 Think on paper!
 7 Steps to achieving any goal
1. Decide exactly what you want – The worst use of time is to do
something really well that doesn’t need to be done at all. Before you climb
the ladder of success, make sure it’s against the right wall
2. Write it down = Think on paper! Unwritten goals have NO energy
3. Set a deadline and Sub-deadlines if necessary
4. Make a list of everything you can think of to achieve your goal
5. Organise the list into a plan of what needs to be done
6. Take action on your plan IMMEDIATELY! (An average plan
vigourously executed is better than the perfect plan with no action)
7. Do something every day that moves you toward your goal – it’s this
discipline that is key to success

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement” Big bad Brian
CHAPTER 2: Plan every day in advance
 Planning is bringing the future into the present, so that you can do something
about it now. How do you eat an elephant – one bite at a time
 Action without planning is the cause of EVERY failure.
 Every minute invested in planning returns up to 10 minutes in execution
 6Ps – Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
 Always work from the list – if something comes up – add it to the list.
 Proper daily planning can save you up to 2 hours a day in wasted productivity
 Plan before you go to bed and give your unconscious mind time to solve any
problems whilst you’re asleep
 Creating Lists
1. Master List - Write down everything you can think of that you want to
2. Monthly List – Transferred from Master List
3. Weekly List – Transferred from Monthly list – pLan for one hour a
4. Daily List – Taken from weekly list

When managing a project

1. Begin by listing every step involved in completing the task
2. Then Prioritise
3. Then complete one task at a time

 10 / 90 RULE: First 10% of time planning saves up to 90% of time

CHAPTER 3: Apply the 80 / 20 RULE to everything

 1895 Wilfredo Pareto – Developed the Pareto Principle – The Top 20% of
the population, THE VITAL FEW, controlled 80% of the wealth. Whilst the
bottom 80%, THE TRIVIAL MANY, controlled 20% of the wealth.
 Is the task you are working on now in your Top 20% of tasks? (If you have
10 tasks to choose – which 2 will deliver 80% return? – work on those
 Time Management = Life Management = Personal Management

CHAPTER 4: Consider the consequences

 If you want to learn to prioritize better, consider the consequences of not
completing each task – the one with the greatest consequence IS your
highest priority.
 Long Term Perspective is the single (most accurate) predictor of upward
social and economic mobility.
 When we take the long-term view we make better decisions (As long as we
have a good idea where we want to go)

 Something that is IMPORTANT has HIGH long-term consequences (High
consequences = Priority 1)
 Future intent determines present actions
 Successful people delay gratification – they make short-term sacrifices.
 “Failures do what is Tension Relieving, whilst Winners do what is Goal
 The LAW OF FORCED EFFICIENCY – There is ALWAYS enough time for
the IMPORTANT things (STOP wasting it on the Trivial Many)
 All senior execs have around 300 hours of backlogged projects
 MYTH: “I WORK BETTER UNDER PRESSURE” – People who do this have
to redo more tasks and they make more mistakes than under ANY OTHER
 However much time you think a task will take – add 20%
 Make a game of beating your deadlines
 3 Questions to keep yourself focused
1. What are my biggest value activities? (i) do it yourself (ii) review with
your boss / colleagues (iii) review with your family
2. What can I AND ONLY I do that if done well can make a real
3. What is the most valuable use of my time, right NOW?

 Do First Things First and Second Things, NOT AT ALL.

 “The things that matter most, must never be at the mercy of the things
that matter least.” (Goethe)

CHAPTER 5: Practice creative procrastination

 Procrastinate on unimportant tasks. Do the worst first.
 Organise by value and priority
 Recognise your posteriorities and STOP doing them
 Learn to say NO
 You have NO spare time – For you to do something new, you must stop
doing something old. Getting in, requires getting out. Picking up, requires
putting down.
 DO NOT ALLOW Unconscious procrastination
 Delegate and Eliminate ALL POSTERIORITIES

CHAPTER 6: Practice ABCDE prioritizing continuously

 FIRST LAW of SUCCESS: Concentration!
 Go back to your list:
 As – must be done and are ordered A1, A2 etc
 Bs – Should do it – NOT must. (Never do a B when an A is not done)
 Cs – Nice to do but NO consequence if not done.
 Ds – Can be delegated
 Es – Eliminate these and they won’t make any difference

 Eat the whole frog – keep going until you finish = When you do this you feed
your Self Esteem and Self Respect

CHAPTER 7: Focus on Key Result Areas

 Why are you on the payroll?
 KRAs (Key Result Areas) are like Vital Functions of The Body
 Failure in these = The end of your job (Business)
 KRAs for management: Planning, Organising, Delegating, Supervising,
Measuring, Reporting.
 There is NEVER enough time to do everything, ALWAYS enough time to do
the important things.
 KRAs for Sales: Prospecting, Building Rapport, Opening new accounts,
Closing, Identifying Needs, Presenting, Overcoming objections, Referrals
and resales.
 A KRA is something YOU are completely responsible for
 Grade yourself 1-10 on each of the KRAs in your role
 YOUR WEAKEST KRA sets the height that you can operate in ANY area
 NOTICE when you have performed poorly and put a plan in place.
 GREAT QUESTION: What one skill if you developed and did it in an
excellent fashion would have the greatest positive impact on your

CHAPTER 8: The Law of 3

 “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are NOW.” Teddy
 What are the FIRST, SECOND and THIRD tasks you should be doing?
 …in each of these areas: Business, Family, Financial, Health, Personal,
 What are your three biggest problems / concerns, right now?
 THE PURPOSE of TIME MANAGEMENT is to spend more face to face time
with the PEOPLE YOU CARE about.
 “It is QUALITY of time at WORK that counts towards QUANTITY of time at
HOME that matters” Big bad Brian

CHAPTER 9: Prepare thoroughly before you begin

 Begin by clearing space so you only have one task in front of you – Gather
all the resources you need
 Set-up your work area well – allow your feet to sit flat on the floor.
 Keep your office neat
 Get it 80% right – then run it up the flagpole
 “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain”
 Act as if you already have the courage.
 Adopt a “Physiology of excellence and SAY “Let’s get to work”.

CHAPTER 10: Take it one oil barrel at a time
 “By the yard it’s hard, but, inch by inch anything’s a cinch”.
 Brian completed a 500 mile crossing of the Sahara desert by following a
route established by the French. They placed 40 gallon drums 5 kilometers
(As far as the eye can see to the next horizon) apart. As you passed one
barrel, you would be able to see the next. All you had to do was find that
barrel and head in that direction and you would make this crossing.
 In other words – What are your milestones to let you know you are on-

CHAPTER 11: Upgrade your key skills

 RULE: “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in
any field”.
 REFUSE to allow YOUR weaknesses to hold you back.
 You can learn any skill you need – OFTEN in 90 days – if you practice for
half an hour EVERY day.
1. Read in your field for 1 hour EVERY DAY
2. Take every course and seminar available to you in your field
3. Listen to programs like this in your car

CHAPTER 12: Leverage your special talents

 Do a little bit more than the bare essentials – just a little bit more makes
all the difference.
 What do you do easily and well that is difficult for others? What is it you
enjoy most about your job?
 Decide what it is you love to do and throw your WHOLE HEART into it.

CHAPTER 13: Identify your key constraints

 “concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand, the sun’s rays do not
burn until brought into focus”. (Alexander Graham Bell)
 Most of us only have ONE major constraint to overcome and then we will
work at a higher level. What is holding you back? What is determining the
speed of your progress? Why aren’t you achieving your goals already?
 The 80 / 20 rule also applies to constraints.
 Start your day by removing a constraint or bottleneck – these can be the
most important frogs for you to eat.

CHAPTER 14: Put the pressure on yourself

 Only 2% of people manage themselves effectively without supervision – we
call these people LEADERS.
 Choose your own frogs and make yourself eat them in the right order.
 You increase it when you go beyond what you thought was possible.
 If you had to leave town for a month at the end of the week, what do you
have to make sure you do before you go?

CHAPTER 15: Maximise your personal powers

 When you are fully rested you can be 3 -5 times more efficient.
 The more tired, the more mistakes.
 Identify your peak performance period – morning, noon, evening and plan
your most difficult / demanding tasks for then.
 When you feel overwhelmed SAY “All I can do is all I can do”.
 Sometimes managing yourself effectively means getting yourself to bed
early. Short term loss, long term gain.
 Eat healthy!
 Exercise for 200 minutes every week.
 Schedule your Big Rocks as if they were business appointments.
 The better you feel the less you procrastinate.
 RULE: Take at least one FULL day off each week and allow yourself and
your brain to re-charge.
 Take regular breaks – long weekends etc

CHAPTER 16: Motivate yourself into action

 Become your own personal cheerleader
 Resolve to become a complete optimist
 The higher the self respect the higher the motivation and persistence.
 SAY “I like myself, I life myself” over and over.
 SAY “I feel terrific, I feel terrific”.
 SAY “I can do it!.”
 Learned optimism is the most important quality for professional and
personal success
 3 Qualities of Optimists
1. Look for the good in every situation.
2. Seek the valuable lesson in each setback or obstacle.
3. Look for a solution to every problem.
 OPTIMISTS think about what they want and how they are going to get it.

CHAPTER 17: Get out of the technology time synchs

 “There is more to life than just increasing it’s speed” (Gandhi)
 STOP, smell the roses and re-charge.
 When you are IN technology you are OUT of the real world.
 80 / 20 rule applies to emails and 80% should be deleted without being
 Teach others how to do things so that you can delegate.

 If you save the system someone else can follow you can save them up to 23
hours a week (arbitrary).
 Use technology as a servant NOT a master.
 Just leaved communication devices off UNTIL you have planned your day.
 Create SILENCE ZONES in your life.

CHAPTER 18: Slice and Dice the task

 The beginning of a habit I like an invisible thread
 Every time you repeat the habit you strengthen the stand and eventually
you will create a cable.
 Some tasks appear so big – we procrastinate
 There are 2 ways to tack le these:
1. Salami Slice the task – lay out the steps involved in completing the
task and resolve to ONE task now. Keep going until you complete
that task. We have an urge to complete inside us, we just need to
harness it. Complete tasks then start the next task.
2. If this method is not ideal then Swiss cheese the task – punch
holes in it. This is a time based assault. Assign 10 mins or one hour
to a task- and get through what you get through in that time.
 EITHER method can be used to overcome procrastination.
Just do something – PICK EITHER AND DO IT.

CHAPTER 19: Create large chunks of time

 “Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your
efforts on a limited set of tasks”.
 Schedule things for every day.
 This is AKA as our DEFAULT DIARIES etc.
 Plan your day in advance and schedule timeslots.
 Use ALL available time – at home, on flights, in the car etc.
 Make every minute count.

CHAPTER 20: Develop a sense of urgency

 Start with the tools you have.
 As you REQUIRE new tools you will find them.
 When you work steady and focus on one task you can enter into “FLOW”.
 STATE OF FLOW: Feel elated, clear, present, effortless, and accurate. It is
a state of increase personal effectiveness.
 You function on a higher plain, you come up with brilliant ideas, AND you
develop a bias for action.
 A fast tempo goes hand in hand with success.
 Activate the MOMENTUM PRINCIPLE of SUCCESS. “It takes phenomenal
amount of energy to start the process, once it is begun, the wheel is
turning, it takes less energy to achieve maximum results.
 The faster you move the more energy you have.

 SAY “Do it NOW!” “Do it NOW!” “DO IT NOW!!” – over and over to
 If you are getting distracted SAY “Back to work, Back to WORK”.

CHAPTER 21: Single Handle every task

 Once you begin keep going until you complete 100% of the task.
 Keep saying “Back to work”
 Stopping and starting can extend a task by 500%
 As you move down the efficiency curve, you complete more high quality
work in less time.
 SELF DISCIPLINE is “The ability to make yourself do what you should do,
when you should do it, WHETHER you feel like it or NOT.”
 Self Discipline -> Self Mastery -> Self Control
 Persistence is Self Discipline in action.
 The more you discipline yourself to PERSIST, the higher your Self Esteem.
 The more you like and respect yourself, the more Self Control you have.
 It becomes easier to discipline yourself more.
 By following through to completion you shape and mould your own
character. You feel capable of setting and achieving any goal you become
Master of your own destiny!
 Determine your most valuable thing you should be doing with your time