BY: Brian Tracy
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 .......................Set the Table
Chapter 2 .......................Plan Every Day In Advance
Chapter 3 .......................Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
Chapter 4 .......................Consider the Consequences
Chapter 5 .......................Practice the ABCDE Method Continually
Chapter 6 .......................Focus on Key Result Areas
Chapter 7 .......................Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency
Chapter 8 .......................Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
Chapter 9 .......................Do Your Homework
Chapter 10 .....................Leverage Your Special Talents
Chapter 11 .....................Identify Your Key Constraints
Chapter 12 .....................Take It One Oil Barrel At A Time
Chapter 13 .....................Put the Pressure on Yourself
Chapter 14 .....................Maximize Your Personal Power
Chapter 15 .....................Motivate Yourself Into Action
Chapter 16 .....................Practice Creative Procrastination
Chapter 17 .....................Do the Most Difficult Task First
Chapter 18 .....................Slice and Dice the Task
Chapter 19 .....................Create Large Chunks of Time
Chapter 20 .....................Develop a Sense of Urgency
Chapter 21 .....................Single Handle Every Task
Putting It All Together
Thank you for picking up this book. I hope these ideas help you as
much as have helped me and thousands of others. In fact, I hope that
this book changes your life forever.
There is never enough time to do everything you have to do. You are
literally swamped with work and personal responsibilities, projects,
stacks of magazines to read and piles of books you intend to get to
one of these days as soon as you get caught up.
But the fact is that you are never going to get caught up. You will
never get on top of your tasks. You will never get far enough ahead
to be able to get to all those books, magazines and leisure time
activities that you dream of doing.
And forget about solving your time management problems by
becoming more productive. No matter how many personal
productivity techniques you master, there will always be more to do
than you can ever accomplish in the time you have available to you,
no matter how much it is.
You can only get control of your time and your life by changing the
way you think, work and deal with the never ending river of
responsibilities that flows over you each day. You can only get
control of your tasks and activities to the degree that you stop doing
some things and start spending more time on the few things that can
really make a difference in your life.
I have studied time management for more than thirty years. I have
immersed myself in the works of Peter Drucker, Alex Mackenzie,
Alan Lakein, Stephen Covey and many, many others. I have read
hundreds of books and thousands of articles on personal efficiency
and effectiveness. This book is the result.
Each time I came across a good idea, I tried it out in my own work
and personal life. If it worked, I incorporated it into my talks and
seminars and taught it to others.
Galileo once wrote, “You cannot teach a person something he does
not already know; you can only bring what he does know to his
Depending upon your level of knowledge and experience, these ideas
will sound familiar. This book will bring them to a higher level of
awareness. When you learn and apply these methods and techniques
over and over until they become habits, you will alter the course of
you life in a very positive way.
My Own Story
Let me tell you a little about myself the origins of this little book.
I started off in life with few advantages, aside from a curious mind. I
did poorly in school and left without graduating. I worked at
laboring jobs for several years. My future did not appear promising.
As a young man, I got a job on a tramp freighter and went off to see
the world. For eight years, I traveled and worked, and then traveled
some more, eventually visiting more than eighty countries on five
When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got into sales, knocking
on doors, working on straight commission. I struggled from sale to
sale until I began looking around me and asking, “Why is it that
other people are doing better than I am?”
Then I did something that changed my life. I went and asked other
successful people what they were doing. And they told me. And I did
what they advised me to do, and my sales went up. Eventually, I
became so successful that they made me a sales manager. As a sales
manager, I used the same strategy. I found out what other successful
managers were doing and then did it myself.
This process of learning and applying what I had learned changed
my life. I am still amazed at how simple and obvious it is. Just find
out what other successful people do and do the same things until you
get the same results. Wow! What an idea.
Simply put, some people are doing better than others because they do
things differently and they do the right things right. Especially, they
use their time far, far better than the average person.
Coming from an unsuccessful background, I had developed deep
feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. I had fallen into the mental
trap of assuming that people who were doing better than me were
actually better than me. What I learned was that this was not
necessarily true. They were just doing things differently, and what
they had learned to do, within reason, I could learn as well.
This was a revelation to me. I was both amazed and excited with this
discovery. I still am. I realized that I could change my life and
achieve almost any goal I could set if I just found out what others
were doing in that area and then did it myself until I got the same
results they were getting.
Within one year of starting in sales, I was a top salesman. A year after
I was made a manager, I was a vice-president in charge of a 95 person
sales force in six countries. I was twenty-five years old.
Over the years, I have worked in twenty-two different jobs, started
and built several companies, earned a business degree from a major
university, learned to speak French, German and Spanish and been a
speaker, trainer or consultant for more than 500 companies. I
currently give talks and seminars to more than 250,000 people each
year, with audiences as large as 20,000 people.
Throughout my career, I have found a simple truth. The ability to
concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it
well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success,
achievement, respect, status and happiness in life. This key insight is
the heart and soul of this book.
This book is written to show you how to get ahead more rapidly in
your career. These pages contain the twenty-one most powerful
principles on personal effectiveness I have ever discovered.
These methods, techniques and strategies are practical, proven and
fast acting. In the interests of time, I do not dwell on the various
psychological or emotional explanations for procrastination or poor
time management. There are no lengthy departures into theory or
research. What you will learn are specific actions you can take
immediately to get better, faster results in your work.
Every idea in this book is focused on increasing your overall levels of
productivity, performance and output, on making you more valuable
in whatever you do. You can apply many of these ideas to your
personal life as well.
Each of these twenty-one methods and techniques is complete in
itself. All are necessary. One strategy might be effective in one
situation and another might apply to another task. All together, these
twenty-one ideas represent a smorgasbord of personal effectiveness
techniques that you can use at any time, in any order or sequence that
makes sense to you at the moment.
The key to success is action. These principles work to bring about
fast, predictable improvements in performance and results. The faster
you learn and apply them, the faster you will move ahead in your
There will be no limit to what you can accomplish when you learn
how to “Eat That Frog!”
This is a wonderful time to be alive. There have never been more
possibilities and opportunities for you to achieve more of your goals
than exist today. As perhaps never before in human history, you are
actually drowning in options. In fact, there are so many good things
that you can do that your ability to decide among them maybe the
critical determinant of what you accomplish in life.
If you are like most people today, you are overwhelmed with too
much to do and too little time. As you struggle to get caught up, new
tasks and responsibilities just keep rolling in, like the tides. Because
of this, you will never be able to do everything you have to do. You
will never be caught up. You will always be behind in some of your
tasks and responsibilities, and probably in many of them.
For this reason, and perhaps more than ever before, your ability to
select your most important task at each moment, and then to get
started on that task and to 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.
An average person who develops the habit of setting clear priorities
and getting important tasks completed quickly will run circles
around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but who
gets very little done.
It has been said for many years 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 your biggest, most important task, the one you are
most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.
It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on
your life and results at the moment.
It is also been said that, "If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest
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.
Think of it as a “test.” Treat it like a personal challenge. Resist the
temptation to start with the easier task. 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.
There is one final observation. "If you have to eat a live frog, it
doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long."
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.
In study after study of men and women who get paid more and
promoted faster, the quality of "action orientation," stands out as the
most observable and consistent behavior they demonstrate in
everything they do. 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.
In our world, and especially in our business world, you are paid and
promoted for getting specific, measurable results. You are paid for
making a valuable contribution and especially, for making the
contribution that is expected of you.
"Failure to execute" is one of the biggest problems in organizations
today. Many people confuse activity with accomplishment. They talk
continually, hold endless meetings and make wonderful plans, but,
in the final analysis, no one does the job and gets the results required.
Fully 95% of your success in life and work will be determined by the
kind of habits that you develop over time. The habit of setting
priorities, overcoming procrastination and getting on with your most
important task is a mental and physical skill. As such, this habit is
learnable through practice and repetition, over and over again, until
it locks into your subconscious mind and becomes a permanent part
of your behavior. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes both automatic