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الأحد، 3 مايو 2015

Eat That Frog عايز تتعلم انجليزي اقرا كتب انجليزي


Eat That Frog
BY: Brian Tracy
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Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction
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
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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
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Preface
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
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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
awareness.”
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
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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
continents.
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
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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.
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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.
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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
career. Guaranteed.
There will be no limit to what you can accomplish when you learn
how to “Eat That Frog!”
Brian Tracy
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Introduction
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
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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
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.
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
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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.
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"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
and easy to do.
You are designed mentally and emotionally in such a way that task
completion gives you a positive feeling. It makes you happy. It makes
you feel like a winner.
Whenever you complete a task, of any size or importance, you feel a
surge of energy, enthusiasm and self-esteem. The more important the
completed task, the happier, more confident and powerful you feel
about yourself and your world.
Important task completion triggers the release of endorphins in your
brain. These endorphins give you a natural “high.” The endorphin
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rush that follows successful completion of any task makes you feel
more creative and confident.
Here is one of the most important of the so-called “secrets of
success.” It is that you can actually develop a "positive addition" to
endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence and
competence that they trigger. When you develop this “addiction,”
almost without thinking you begin to organize your life in such a
way that you are continually starting and completing ever more
important tasks and projects. You actually become addicted, in a very
positive sense, to success and contribution.
One of the keys to your living a wonderful life, having a successful
career and feeling terrific about yourself is for you to develop the
habit of starting and finishing important jobs. At that point, this
behavior takes on a power of its own and you find it easier to
complete important tasks than not to complete them.
You remember the story of the man who stops the musician on the
street of New York and asks how he can get to Carnegie Hall. The
musician replies, "Practice, man, practice."
Practice is the key to mastering any skill. Fortunately, your mind is
like a muscle. It grows stronger and more capable with use. With
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practice, you can learn any behavior or develop any habit that you
consider either desirable or necessary.
You need three key qualities to develop the habits of focus and
concentration. They are all learnable. They are decision, discipline
and determination.
First, make a decision to develop the habit of task completion.
Second, discipline yourself to practice the principles you are about to
learn over and over until you master them. And finally, back
everything you do with determination until the habit is locked in
and becomes a permanent part of your personality.
There is a special way that you can accelerate your progress toward
becoming the highly productive, effective, efficient person that you
want to be. It consists of your thinking continually about the rewards
and benefits of being an action oriented, fast moving, focused person.
See yourself as the kind of person who gets important jobs done
quickly and well on a consistent basis.
Your mental picture of yourself has a powerful effect on your
behavior. Visualize yourself as the person you intend to be in the
future. Your self-image, the way you see yourself on the inside,
largely determines your performance on the outside. As professional
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speaker Jim Cathcart says, “The person you see is the person you will
be.”
You have a virtually unlimited ability to learn and develop new
skills, habits and abilities. When you train yourself, through
repetition and practice, to overcome procrastination and get your
most important tasks completed quickly, you will move yourself onto
the fast track in your life and career and step on the accelerator.
Eat That Frog!
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Chapter 1 - Set the Table
“There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness
of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve
it.” ( Napoleon Hill )
Before you can determine your “frog” and get on with eating it, you
have to decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish in each area
of your life. Clarity is the most important concept in personal
productivity. The number one reason why some people get more
work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their
goals and objectives and they don’t deviate from them.
The more clear you are about what you want and what you have to
do to achieve it, the easier it is for you to overcome procrastination,
eat your frog and get on with the completion of the task.
A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is
vagueness, confusion and fuzzy mindedness about what it is you are
supposed to do, and in what order and for what reason. You must
avoid this common condition with all your strength by striving for
ever greater clarity in everything you do.
Here is a great rule for success: "Think on paper."
17 Only about 3% of adults have clear, written goals. These people
accomplish five and ten times as much as people of equal or better
education and ability but who, for whatever reason, have never taken
the time to write out exactly what it is they want.
There is a powerful formula for setting and achieving goals that you
can use for the rest of your life. It consists of seven simple steps. Any
one of these steps can double and triple your productivity if you are
not currently using it. Many of my graduates have increased their
incomes dramatically in a matter of a few years, or even a few
months, with this simple, seven-part method.
Step number one: Decide exactly what you want.
Either decide for yourself or sit down with your boss and discuss
your goals and objectives until you are absolutely, crystal clear about
what is expected of you and in what order of priority. It is amazing
how many people are working away, day after day, on low value
tasks because they have not had this critical discussion with their
manager.
Rule: “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very
well that need not be done at all.”
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Stephen Covey says that, "Before you begin scrambling up the ladder
of success, make sure that it is leaning against the right building."
Step number two: Write it down.
Think on paper. When you write your goal down, you crystallize it
and give it tangible form. You create something that you can touch
and see. On the other hand, a goal or objective that is not in writing is
merely a wish or a fantasy. It has no energy behind it. Unwritten
goals lead to confusion, vagueness, misdirection and numerous
mistakes.
Step number three: Set a deadline on your goal.
A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency. It has no real
beginning or end. Without a definite deadline accompanied by the
assignment or acceptance of specific responsibilities for completion,
you will naturally procrastinate and get very little done.
Step number four: Make a list of everything that you can think of that
you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
As you think of new activities, add them to your list. Keep building
your list until it is complete. A list gives you a visual picture of the
larger task or objective. It gives you a track to run on. It dramatically
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increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goal as you have
defined it and on schedule.
Step number five: Organize the list into a plan.
Organize your list by priority and sequence. Take a few minutes to
decide what you need to do first and what you can do later. Decide
what has to be done before something else and what needs to be
done afterwards. Even better, lay out your plan visually, in the form
of a series of boxes and circles on a sheet of paper. You’ll be amazed
at how much easier it is to achieve your goal when you break it down
into individual tasks.
With a written goal and an organized plan of action, you will be far
more productive and efficient than someone who is carrying his goals
around in his mind.
Step number six: Take action on your plan immediately.
Do something. Do anything. An average plan vigorously executed is
far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done. For you to
achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.
Step number seven: Resolve to do something every single day that
moves you toward your major goal.
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Build this activity into your daily schedule. Read a specific number of
pages on a key subject. Call on a specific number of prospects or
customers. Engage in a specific period of physical exercise. Learn a
certain number of new words in a foreign language. Never miss a
day.
Keep pushing forward. Once you start moving, keep moving. Don’t
stop. This decision, this discipline alone, can make you one of the
most productive and successful people of your generation.
Clear written goals have a wonderful effect on your thinking. They
motivate you and galvanize you into action. They stimulate your
creativity, release your energy and help you to overcome
procrastination as much as any other factor.
Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. The bigger your
goals and the clearer they are, the more excited you become about
achieving them. The more you think about your goals, the greater
becomes your inner drive and desire to accomplish them.
Think about your goals and review them daily. Every morning when
you begin, take action on the most important task you can
accomplish to achieve your most important goal at the moment.
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Eat That Frog! Take a clean sheet of paper right now and make out a
list of ten goals you want to accomplish in the next year. Write your
goals as though a year has already passed and they are now a reality.
Use the present tense, positive and personal case so that they are
immediately accepted by your subconscious mind.
For example, you would write. “I earn X number of dollars per year.”
Or “I weigh X number of pounds.” Or “I drive such and such a car.”
Then, go back over your list of ten goals and select the one goal that,
if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive impact on your
life. Whatever that goal is, write it on a separate sheet of paper, set a
deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan and then do
something every single day that moves you toward that goal. This
exercise alone could change your life!
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Chapter 2 – Plan Every Day In Advance
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something
about it now.” (Alan Lakein)
You have heard the old question, ”How do you eat an elephant? One
bite at a time!”
How do you eat your biggest, ugliest frog? The same way; you break
it down into specific step-by-step activities and then you start on the
first one.
Your mind, your ability to think, plan and decide, is your most
powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your
productivity. Your ability to set your goals, plan and take action on
them determines the course of your life. The very act of thinking and
planning unlocks your mental powers, triggers your creativity and
increases your mental and physical energies.
Conversely, as Alex MacKenzie wrote, "Action without planning is the
cause of every failure."
Your ability to plan well, in advance of beginning, is a measure of
your overall competence. The better the plan you have, the easier it is
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for you to overcome procrastination, to get started , to eat your frog
and then to keep going.
One of your top goals at work should be for you to get the highest
possible return on your investment of mental, emotional and physical
energy. The good news is that every minute spent in planning saves
as many as ten minutes in execution. It only takes about ten or twelve
minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of
time will save you at least two hours (100-120 minutes) in wasted
time and diffused effort throughout the day.
You may have heard of the six "P" formula. It says, "Proper Prior
Planning Prevents Poor Performance."
When you consider how helpful planning can be in increasing your
productivity and performance, it is amazing how few people practice
it every single day. And planning is really quite simple to do. All you
need is a piece of paper and a pen. The most sophisticated Palm Pilot,
computer program or time planner is based on the same principle. It
is based on your sitting down and making a list of everything you
have to do before you begin.
Always work from a list. When something new comes up, add it to
the list before you do it. You can increase your productivity and
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output by 25% or more from the first day that you begin working
consistently from a list.
Make out your list the night before, at the end of the workday. Move
everything that you have not yet accomplished onto your list for the
coming day and then add everything that you have to do the next
day. When you make out your list the evening or the night before,
your subconscious mind works on your list all night long while you
sleep. Often you will wake up with great ideas and insights that you
can use to get your job done faster and better than you had initially
thought.
The more time you take to make written lists of everything you have
to do, in advance, the more effective and efficient you will be.
There are different lists that you need for different purposes. First,
you should create a master list on which you write down everything
you can think of that you want to do some time in the future. This is
the place where you capture every idea that comes to or every new
task or responsibility that comes up. You can then sort out the items
later.
Second, you should have a monthly list that you make up at the end
of the month for the month ahead. This may contain items
transferred from your master list.
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Third, you should have a weekly list where you plan your entire
week in advance. This is a list that is under construction as you go
through the current week.
This discipline of systematic time planning can be very helpful to
you. Many people have told me that the habit of taking a couple of
hours at the end of each week to plan the coming week has increased
their productivity dramatically and changed their lives completely.
This technique will work for you as well.
Finally, you transfer items from your monthly and weekly lists onto
your daily list. These are the specific activities that you are going to
accomplish that day.
As you work through the day, tick off the items on your list as you
complete them. This activity gives you a visual picture of
accomplishment. It generates a feeling of success and forward
motion. Seeing yourself working progressively through your list
motivates and energizes you. It raises your self-esteem and selfrespect. Steady, visible progress propels you forward and helps you
to overcome procrastination.
When you have a project of any kind, begin by making a list of every
step that you will have to complete to finish the project from
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beginning to end. Organize the project by priority and sequence. Lay
it out in front of you on paper or on a computer so that you can see it.
Then go to work on one task at a time. You will be amazed at how
much you get done in this way.
As you work through your lists, you will feel more and more
effective and powerful. You will feel more in control of your life. You
will be naturally motivated to do even more. You will think better
and more creatively and you will get more and better insights that
enable you to do your work even faster.
As you work steadily through your lists, you will develop a sense of
positive forward momentum that enables you to overcome
procrastination. This feeling of progress gives you more energy and
keeps you going throughout the day.
One of the most important rules of personal effectiveness is the 10/90
Rule. This rule says that the first 10% of time that you spend
planning and organizing your work, before you begin, will save you
as much as 90% of the time in getting the job done once you get
started. You only have to try this rule once to prove it to yourself.
When you plan each day in advance, you find it much easier to get
going and to keep going. The work goes faster and smoother than
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ever before. You feel more powerful and competent. You eventually
become unstoppable.
Eat That Frog! Begin today to plan every day, week and month in
advance. Take a notepad or sheet of paper and make a list of
everything you have to do in the next 24 hours. Add to it as new
items come up. Make a list of all your projects, the big multi-task jobs
that are important to your future.
Lay out each of your major goals, projects or tasks by priority, what
is most important, and by sequence, what has to be done first, what
comes second and so forth. Start with the end in mind and work
backward.
Think on paper! Always work from a list. You’ll be amazed at how
much more productive you become, and how much easier it is to eat
your frog.
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Chapter 3 - Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
“We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.” (Wolfgang
Von Goethe)
The 80/20 Rule is one of the most helpful of all concepts of time and
life management. It is also called the Pareto Principle after its
founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who first wrote about
it in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in his society seemed to divide
naturally into what he called the "vital few,” the top 20% in terms of
money and influence, and the “trivial many,” the bottom 80%.
He later discovered that virtually all economic activity was subject to
this Pareto Principle as well.
For example, this rule says that 20% of your activities will account for
80% of your results. 20% of your customers will account for 80% of
your sales. 20% of your products or services will account for 80% of
your profits. 20% of your tasks will account for 80% of the value of
what you do, and so on.
This means that if you have a list of ten items to do, two of those
items will turn out to be worth as much or more than the other eight
items put together.
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Here is an interesting discovery. Each of these tasks may take the
same amount of time to accomplish. But one or two of those tasks
will contribute five or ten times the value as any of the others.
Often, one item on a list of ten things that you have to do can be
worth more than all the other nine items put together. This task is
invariably the frog that you should eat first.
Can you guess on which items the average person is most likely to
procrastinate? The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the
top ten or twenty percent of items that are the most valuable and
important, the “vital few.” They busy themselves instead with the
least important 80%, the "trivial many" that contribute very little to
results.
You often see people who appear to be busy all day long but they
seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are
busy doing things that are of low value while they procrastinate on
the one or two activities that could make a real difference to their
companies and to their careers.
The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest
and most complex. But the payoff and rewards for completing these
tasks efficiently can be tremendous. For this reason, you must
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adamantly refuse to work on tasks in the bottom 80% while you still
have tasks in the top 20% left to be done.
Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top
20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
Rule: “Resist the temptation to clear up small things first.”
Remember, whatever you choose to do, over and over, eventually
becomes a habit that is hard to break. If you choose to start your day
on low value tasks, you soon develop the habit of always starting and
working on low value tasks. This is not the kind of habit you want to
develop, or keep.
The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the
first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you
seem to be naturally motivated to continue. There is a part of your
mind that loves to be busy working on significant tasks that can
really make a difference. Your job is to feed this part of your mind
continually.
Just thinking about starting and finishing an important task motivates
you and helps you to overcome procrastination. The fact is that the
amount of time required to complete an important job is often the
same as the time required to do an unimportant job. The difference is
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that you get a tremendous feeling of pride and satisfaction from the
completion of something valuable and significant. However, when
you complete a low value task, using the same amount of time and
energy, you get little or no satisfaction at all.
Time management is really life management, personal management.
It is really taking control over the sequence of events. Time
management is control over what you do next. And you are always
free to choose the task that you will do next. Your ability to choose
between the important and the unimportant is the key determinant of
your success in life and work.
Effective, productive people discipline themselves to start on the
most important task that is before them. They force themselves to eat
that frog, whatever it is. As a result, they accomplish vastly more
than the average person and are much happier as a result. This
should be your way of working as well.
Eat That Frog! Make a list of all the key goals, activities, projects and
responsibilities in your life today. Which of them are, or could be, in
the top 10% or 20% of tasks that represent, or could represent, 80% or
90% of your results?
32
Resolve today that you are going to spend more and more of your
time working in those few areas that can really make a difference in
you life and career, and less and less time on lower value activities.
33
Chapter 4 – Consider the Consequences
Every man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in
proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel.”
(Orison Swett Marden)
The mark of the superior thinker is his or her ability to accurately
predict the consequences of doing or not doing something. The
potential consequences of any task or activity are the key
determinants of how important it really is to you and to your
company. This way of evaluating the significance of a task is how
you determine what your next frog really is.
Doctor Edward Banfield of Harvard University, after more than 50
years of research, concluded that "long-time perspective" is the most
accurate single predictor of upward social and economic mobility in
America. Long time perspective turns out to be more important than
family background, education, race, intelligence, connections or
virtually any other single factor in determining your success in life
and at work.
Your attitude toward time, your "time horizon," has an enormous
impact on your behavior and your choices. People who take the long
view of their lives and careers always seem to make much better
34
decisions about their time and activities than people who give very
little thought to the future.
Rule: "Long-term thinking improves short-term decision making."
Successful people have a clear future orientation. They think five, ten
and twenty years out into the future. They analyze their choices and
behaviors in the present to make sure that they are consistent with
the long-term future that they desire.
In your work, having a clear idea of what is really important to you
in the long-term makes it much easier for you to make better
decisions about your priorities in the short-term.
By definition, something that is important has long-term potential
consequences. Something that is unimportant has few or no longterm potential consequences. Before starting on anything, you should
always ask yourself, "What are the potential consequences of doing
or not doing this task?"
Rule: "Future intent influences and often determines present actions."
The clearer you are about your future intentions, the greater
influence that clarity will have on what you do in the moment. With a
35
clear long-term vision, you are much more capable of evaluating an
activity in the present and to assure that it is consistent with where
you truly want to end up.
Successful people are those who are willing to delay gratification and
make sacrifices in the short term so that they can enjoy far greater
rewards in the long term. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand,
think more about short-term pleasure and immediate gratification
while giving little thought to the long-term future.
Dennis Waitley, the motivational speaker, says, "Failures do what is
tension relieving while winners do what is goal achieving."
For example, coming in to work earlier, reading regularly in your
field, taking courses to improve your skills, and focusing on high
value tasks in your work will all combine to have an enormous
positive impact on your future.
On the other hand, coming in to work at the last moment, reading the
newspaper, drinking coffee and socializing with your coworkers may
seem fun and enjoyable in the short-term but it inevitably leads to
lack of promotion, underachievement and frustration in the longterm.
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If there is a task or activity with large potential positive
consequences, make it a top priority and get started on it
immediately. If there is something that can have large potential
negative consequences if it is not done quickly and well, that
becomes a top priority as well. Whatever your frog is, resolve to gulp
it down first thing.
Motivation requires motive. The greater the positive potential impact
that an action or behavior of yours can have on your life, once you
define it clearly, the more motivated you will be to overcome
procrastination and get it done quickly.
Keep yourself focused and forward moving by continually starting
and completing those tasks that can make a major difference to your
company and to your future.
The time is going to pass anyway. The only question is how you use
and where you are going to end up at the end of the weeks and
months. And where you end up is largely a matter of the amount of
consideration you give to the likely consequences of your actions in
the short term.
Thinking continually about the potential consequences of your
choices, decisions and behaviors is one of the very best ways to
determine you true priorities in your work and personal life.
37
Eat That Frog! Review your list of tasks, activities and projects
regularly. Continually ask yourself, “Which one project or activity, if
I did it in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest
positive impact on my life?”
Whatever it is that can help you the most, set it as a goal, make a plan
to achieve it and go to work on your plan immediately. Remember
the wonderful words of Goethe, “Just begin and the mind grows heated;
continue, and the task will be completed!”
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Chapter 5 - Practice the ABCDE Method Continually
“The first law of success is concentration – to bend all the energies to one
point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the
left.” (William Mathews)
The more thought you invest in planning and setting priorities before
you begin, the more important things you will do and the faster you
will get them done once you get started.
The more important and valuable the task is to you, the more you
will be motivated to overcome procrastination and launch yourself
into the job.
The ABCDE Method is a powerful priority setting technique that you
can use every single day. This technique is so simple and effective
that it can, all by itself, make you one of the most efficient and
effective people in your field.
The power of this technique lies in its simplicity. Here’s how it
works: You start with a list of everything you have to do for the
coming day. Think on paper.
You then place an A, B, C, D or E before each item on your list before
you begin the first task.
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An "A" item is defined as something that is very important. This is
something that you must do. This is a task for which there can be
serious consequences if you do it or fail to do it, like visiting a key
customer or finishing a report for your boss that she needs for an
upcoming board meeting. These are the frogs of your life.
If you have more than one "A" task, you prioritize these tasks by
writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1
task is your biggest, ugliest frog of all.
A "B" item is defined as a task that you should do. But it only has mild
consequences. These are the tadpoles of your work life. This means
that someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don't do it,
but it is nowhere as important as an "A" task. Returning an
unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a
"B" task.
The rule is that you should never do a "B" task when there is an "A"
task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when
there is a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.
A "C" task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for
which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not. "C"
tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a
40
coworker or completing some personal business during work hours.
This sort of activity has no affect at all on your work life.
A "D" task is defined as something you can delegate to someone else.
The rule is that you should delegate everything that anyone else can
do so that you can free up more time for the "A" tasks that only you
can do.
An "E" task is defined as something that you can eliminate altogether
and it won't make any real difference.
This may be a task that was important at one time but which is no
longer relevant to yourself or anyone else. Often it is something you
continue to do out of habit or because you enjoy it.
After you have applied the ABCDE Method to your list, you will now
be completely organized and ready to get more important things
done faster.
The key to making this ABCDE Method work is for you to now
discipline yourself to start immediately on your "A-1" task and then
stay at it until it is complete. Use your willpower to get going and
stay going on this one job, the most important single task you could
possibly be doing. Eat the whole frog and don’t stop until its finished
completely.
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Your ability to think through, analyze your work list and determine
your "A-1" task is the springboard to higher levels of
accomplishment, and greater self-esteem, self-respect and personal
pride.
When you develop the habit of concentrating on your "A-1," most
important activity, on eating your frog, you will start getting more
done than any two or three people around you.
Eat That Frog! Review you work list right now and put an A, B, C, D
or E next to each task or activity. Select your A-1 job or project and
begin on it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until
this one job is complete.
Practice this ABCDE Method every day and on every work or project
list, before you begin work, for the next month. By that time, you will
have developed the habit of setting and working on your highest
priority tasks and your future will be assured!
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Chapter 6 - Focus On Key Result Areas
“When every physical and mental resource is focused, one’s power to solve a
problem multiplies tremendously.” (Norman Vincent Peale)
Why are you on the payroll? This is one of the most important
questions you ever ask and answer, over and over again, throughout
your career.
As it happens, most people are not sure exactly why they are on the
payroll. But if you are not crystal clear about why it is that you are on
the payroll and what results you have been hired to accomplish, it is
very hard for you to perform at your best and get paid more and
promoted faster.
In its simplest terms, you have been hired to get specific results. A
wage or a salary is a payment for a specific quality and quantity of
work that can be combined with the work of others to create a
product or service that customers are willing to pay for.
Each job can be broken down into about five to seven key result
areas, seldom more. These are the results that you absolutely,
positively have to get to fulfill your responsibilities and make your
maximum contribution to your organization.
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Key result areas are similar to the vital functions of the body, such as
blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and brainwave activity.
An absence of any one of these vital functions leads to the death of
the organism. By the same token, your failure to perform in a critical
result area of your work can lead to the end of your job as well.
For example, the key result areas of management are: Planning,
Organizing, Staffing, Delegating, Supervising, Measuring and
Reporting. These are the results that a manager must get to succeed
in his or her area of responsibility.
There is essential knowledge and skill that you must have for your
job. These demands are constantly changing. There are core
competencies that you have developed that make it possible for you
to do your job in the first place. But there are always key results that
are central to your work and which determine your success or failure
in your job.
A key result area is defined as something for which you are
completely responsible. This means that if you don't do it, it doesn't
get done. A key result area is an activity that is under your control. It
is an output of your work that becomes an input or a contributing
factor to the work of others.
44
The starting point of high performance is for you to first of all
identify the key result areas of your work. Discuss them with your
boss. Make a list of your output responsibilities and make sure that
the people above you, next to you and below you are in agreement
with it.
For example, for a salesperson, prospecting and opening new
accounts is a key result area. This activity is the key to the entire sales
process. Closing a sale is a key result area. When the sale is made, it
triggers the activities of many other people to produce and deliver
the product or service.
For a company owner or key executive, negotiating a bank loan is a
key result area. Hiring the right people and delegating effectively are
both key result areas. For a receptionist or secretary, typing a letter or
answering the phone and transferring the caller quickly and
efficiently are defined as key result areas. A person’s ability to
perform these tasks quickly and well largely determines their pay
and promotability.
Once you have determined your key result areas, the second step is
for you to grade yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each of those areas.
Where are you strong and where are you weak? Where are you
getting excellent results and where are you underperforming?
45
Here's the rule: Your weakest key result area sets the height at which
you can use all your other skills and abilities.
This rule says that you could be exceptional in six out of seven key
result areas but really poor in the seventh. And your poor
performance in the seventh area will hold you back and determine
how much you achieve with all your other skills. This weakness will
act as a drag on your effectiveness and be a constant source of friction
and frustration.
For example, delegating is a key result area for a manager. This skill
is the key leverage point that enables a manager to manage, to get
results through others. A manager who cannot delegate properly is
held back from using all his or her other skills at their maximum level
of effectiveness. Poor delegation skills alone can lead to failure in the
job.
One of the major reasons for procrastination and delay in the
workplace is that people avoid jobs and activities in those areas
where they have performed poorly in the past. Instead of setting a
goal and making a plan to improve in a particular area, most people
avoid that area altogether, which just makes the situation worse.
The reverse of this is that, the better you become in a particular skill
area, the more motivated you will be to perform that function, the
46
less you will procrastinate and the more determined you will be to
get it finished.
The fact is that everybody has both strengths and weaknesses. Refuse
to rationalize, justify or defend your areas of weakness. Instead,
identify them clearly. Set a goal and make a plan to become very
good in each of those areas. Just think! You may be only one critical
skill away from top performance at your job.
Here is one of the greatest questions you will ever ask and answer:
"What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion,
would have the greatest positive impact on my career?"
You should use this question to guide your career for the rest of your
life. Look into yourself for the answer. You usually know what it is.
Ask your boss this question. Ask your coworkers. Ask your friends
and your family. Whatever it is, find out and then go to work to bring
up your performance in this area.
The good news is that all business skills are learnable. If anyone else is
excellent in that particular key result area, this is proof that you can
become excellent as well, if you decide to.
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One of the fastest and best ways to stop procrastinating and get more
things done faster is for you to become absolutely excellent in your
key result areas. This can be as important as anything else you do in
your life or your career.
Eat That Frog! Identify the key result areas of your work. What are
they? Write down the key results you have to get to do your job in an
excellent fashion. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 on each one. And
then determine the one key skill that, if you did it in an excellent
manner, would help you the most in your work.
Take this list to your boss and discuss it with him or her. Invite
honest feedback and appraisal. You can only get better when you are
open to the constructive inputs of other people. Discuss your results
with your staff and coworkers. Talk them over with your spouse.
Make a habit of doing this analysis regularly for the rest of your
career. Never stop improving. This decision alone can change your
life.
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Chapter 7 – Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency
“Concentration, in its truest, unadulterated form, means the ability to focus
the mind on one single solitary thing.” (Komar)
This law says that, "There is never enough time to do everything, but
there is always enough time to do the most important thing."
Put another way, you cannot eat every tadpole and frog in the pond,
but you can eat the biggest and ugliest one, and that will be enough,
at least for the time being.
When you run out of time and the consequences for non-completion
of a key task or project can be really serious, you always seem to find
the time to get it done, often at the very last minute. You start early,
you stay late and you drive yourself to complete the job rather than
to face the negative consequences that would follow if you didn't get
it completed within the time limit.
Rule: "There will never be enough time to do everything you have to
do."
The fact is that the average person today is working at 110% to 130%
of capacity. And the jobs and responsibilities just keep piling up.
Everyone has stacks of reading material they still have to go through.
49
One study concluded recently that the average executive has 300-400
hours of reading and projects backlogged at home and at the office.
What this means is that you will never be caught up. Get that out of
your mind. All you can hope for is to be on top of your most
important responsibilities. The others will just have to wait.
Many people say that they work better under the pressure of
deadlines. Unfortunately, years of research indicate that this is
seldom true.
Under the pressure of deadlines, often self-created through
procrastination and delay, people suffer greater stress, make more
mistakes, and have to do redo more tasks, than under any other
conditions. Often the mistakes that are made when people are
working under tight deadlines lead to defects and cost overruns that
lead to substantial financial losses in the long-term. Sometimes the
job actually takes much longer to complete when people rush to get
the job done at the last minute and then have to redo it.
There are three questions that you can use on a regular basis to keep
yourself focused on getting your most important tasks completed on
schedule. The first question is "What are my highest value activities?"
50
Put another way, what are the biggest frogs that you have to eat to
make the greatest contribution to your organization? To your family?
To your life in general?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask and answer.
What are your highest value activities? First, think this through for
yourself. Then, ask your boss. Ask your coworkers and subordinates.
Ask your friends and family. Like focusing the lens of a camera, you
must be crystal clear about your highest value activities before you
begin work.
The second question you can ask continually is, "What can I and only I
do, that if done well, will make a real difference?"
This question comes from Peter Drucker, the management guru. It is
one of the best of all questions for achieving personal effectiveness.
What can you, and only you do, that if done well, can make a real
difference?
This is something that only you can do. If you don't do it, it won't be
done by someone else. But if you do do it, and you do it well, it can
really make a difference to your life and your career. What is your
frog in your work?
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Every hour of every day, you can ask yourself this question and there
will be a specific answer. You job is to be clear about the answer and
then to start and work on this task before anything else.
The third question you can ask is "What is the most valuable use of my
time, right now?"
What is my biggest frog of all at this moment?
This is the core question of time management. This is the key to
overcoming procrastination and becoming a highly productive
person. Every hour of every day, there is an answer to this question.
Your job is to ask yourself the question, over and over again, and to
always be working on the answer to it, whatever it is.
Do first things first and second things not at all. As Goethe said, "The
things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter
least."
The more accurate your answers to these questions, the easier it will
be for you to set clear priorities, to overcome procrastination and to
get started on that one activity that represents the most valuable use
of your time.
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Eat That Frog! Your most powerful thinking tool for success is your
ability to discriminate between one priority and another. Take a few
minutes each day and sit quietly where you cannot be disturbed.
During this time, let your mind relax and just think about your work
and activities, without stress or pressure.
In almost every case, during this time of solitude, you will receive
wonderful insights and ideas that will save you enormous amounts
of time when you apply them back on the job. Often you will
experience breakthroughs that will change the direction of your life
and work.
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Chapter 8 - Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you
can ever develop in a lifetime.” (James T. McKay)
One of the best ways for you to overcome procrastination and get
more things done faster is for you to have everything you need at
hand before you begin. When you are fully prepared, you are like a
cocked gun or an archer with an arrow pulled back taut in the bow.
You just need one small mental push to get started on your highest
value tasks.
This is like getting everything ready to prepare a complete meal, such
as eating a big frog. You get all the ingredients out on the counter in
front of you and then begin putting the dinner together, one step at a
time.
Begin by clearing off your desk or workspace so that you only have
one task in front of you. If necessary, put everything on the floor or
on the table behind you. Gather all the information, reports, details,
papers, and work materials that you will require to complete the job.
Have them at hand so you can reach them without getting up or
moving.
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Be sure that you have all writing materials, computer disks, access
codes, email addresses and everything else you need to start and
continue working until the job is done.
Set up your work area so that it is comfortable, attractive and
conducive to working for long periods. Especially, make sure that
you have a comfortable chair that supports your back and allows
your feet to sit flat on the floor.
The most productive people take the time to create a work area
where they enjoy spending time. The cleaner and neater your work
area before you begin, the easier it is for you to get started and keep
going.
One of the great techniques for overcoming procrastination (eating
frogs) is for you to get everything completely ready to work in
advance. When everything is laid out in order and sequence, you feel
much more like getting on with the job.
It is amazing how many books never get written, how many degrees
never get completed, how many life changing tasks never get started
because people fail to take the first step of preparing everything in
advance.
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Los Angeles attracts people from all over America who dream of
writing a successful movie script and selling it to one of the studios.
They move to Los Angeles and work at low level jobs for years while
they dream of writing and selling a popular script.
Recently, the Los Angeles Times sent a reporter out onto Wilshire
Boulevard to interview passers by. When people came along, he
asked them one question: "How is your script coming?" Three out of
four passersby replied, "Almost done!"
The sad fact is that "almost done" probably meant "not yet started."
Don’t let this happen to you.
When you sit down, with everything in front of you, ready to go,
assume the body language of high performance. Sit up straight, sit
forward and away from the back of the chair. Carry yourself as
though you were an efficient, effective high performing personality.
Then, pick up the first item and say to yourself, "Let's get to work!"
and plunge in. And once you've started, keep going until the job is
finished.
Eat That Frog! Take a good look at your desk or office, both at home
and at the office. Ask yourself, “What kind of a person works in an
environment like that?”
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The cleaner and neater your work environment, the more positive,
productive and confident you feel. Resolve today to clean up your
desk and office completely so that you feel effective, efficient and
ready to get going each time you sit down to work.
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Chapter 9 - Do Your Homework
“The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than
is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.”
(Og Mandino)
This is one of the most important personal productivity principles of
all. Learn what you need to learn so that you can do your work in an
excellent fashion. The better you become at eating a particular type of
frog, the more likely you are to just plunge in and get it done.
A major reason for delay and procrastination is a feeling of
inadequacy, lack of confidence or inability in a key area of the task. A
single area where you feel weak or deficient is enough to discourage
you from starting the job at all.
Continually upgrade your skills in your key result areas. Remember,
however good you are today, your knowledge and skill is becoming
obsolete at a rapid rate. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach said, "If
you're not getting better, you're getting worse."
One of the most helpful of all time management techniques is for you
to get better at your key tasks. Personal and professional
improvement is one of the best time savers there is. The better you
are at a key task, the more motivated you are to launch into it. The
58
better you are, the more energy and enthusiasm you have. When you
know that you can do a job well, you find it easier to overcome
procrastination and get the job done faster and better than under any
other circumstances.
One piece of information or one additional skill can make an
enormous difference in your ability to do the job well. Identify the
most important things you do and then make a plan to continually
upgrade your skills in those areas.
Rule: “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success
in any field.”
Refuse to allow a weakness or a lack of ability in any area to hold you
back. Everything is learnable. And what others have learned, you can
learn as well.
When I began to write my first book, I was discouraged because I
could only use the “hunt and peck” method of typing. I soon realized
that I had to learn to touch-type if I was ever going to write and
rewrite a 300-page book. So I bought a touch-typing program for my
computer and practiced for 20 to 30 minutes every day for three
months. By the end of that time, I was typing 40-50 words per
minute. With this skill, I have been able to write a dozen books that
have now been published all over the world.
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The best news is that you can learn whatever skills you need to be
more productive and more effective. You can become a touch typist if
necessary. You can become an expert with a computer. You can
become a terrific negotiator or a super salesperson. You can learn to
speak in public. You can learn to write effectively and well. These are
all skills you can acquire, as soon as you decide to and make them a
priority.
Read in your field for at least one hour every day. Get up a little
earlier in the morning and read for 30-60 minutes in a book or
magazine that contains information that can help you to be more
effective and productive at what you do.
Take every course and seminar available on key skills that can help
you. Attend the conventions and business meetings of your
profession or occupation. Go to the sessions and workshops. Sit up
front and take notes. Purchase the audio recordings of the programs.
Dedicate yourself to becoming one of the most knowledgeable and
competent people in your field.
Finally, listen to audio programs in your car. The average car owner
sits behind the wheel 500-1000 hours each year while driving from
place to place. Turn driving time into learning time. You can become
one of the smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your
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field simply by listening to educational audio programs as you drive
around.
The more you learn and know, the more confident and motivated
you feel. You better you become, the more capable you will be of
doing even more in your field.
The more you learn, the more you can learn. Just as you can build
your physical muscles through physical exercise, you build your
mental muscles with mental exercises. And there is no limit to how
far or how fast you can advance except for the limits you place on
your own imagination.
Eat That Frog! Resolve today to become a “Do-It-To-Yourself”
project. Become a lifelong student of your craft. School is never out
for the professional.
What are the key skills that can help you the most to achieve better
and faster results? What are the core competencies that you will need
to have in the future to lead your field? Whatever they are, set a goal,
make a plan and begin developing and increasing your ability in
those areas. Resolve to be the very best at what you do!
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Chapter 10 - Leverage Your Special Talents
“Do your work. Not just your work and no more, but a little more for the
lavishings sake – that little more that is worth all the rest.”
(Dean Briggs)
You are remarkable! You have special talents and abilities that make
you different from every other person who has ever lived. There are
frogs you can eat, or learn to eat, that can make you one of the most
important people of your generation.
There are certain things that you can do, or that you can learn to do,
that can make you extraordinarily valuable to yourself and to others.
Your job is to identify your special areas of uniqueness and then to
commit yourself to becoming very, very good in those areas.
Your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your "earning
ability." Your ability to work enables you to bring tens of thousands
of dollars into your life every year by simply applying your
knowledge and skills to your world. This is your ability to eat specific
frogs faster and better than others.
You could lose everything you own - your house, your car, your job,
your bank account- but as long as you still had your earning ability,
you could make it all back and more besides.
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Take stock of your unique talents and abilities on a regular basis.
What is it that you do especially well? What are you good at? What
do you do easily and well that is difficult for other people? Looking
back at your career, what has been most responsible for your success
in life and work to date? What have been the most significant frogs
you have eaten in the past?
You are designed in such a way that you will most enjoy doing the
very things that you have the ability to be the very best at. What is it
that you enjoy the most about your work? What kind of frogs do you
most enjoy eating? The very fact that you enjoy something means
that you probably have within yourself the capability to be excellent
in that area.
One of your great responsibilities in life is for you to decide what it is
that you really love to do and then to throw your whole heart into
doing that special thing very, very well.
Look at the various things you do. What is it that you do that gets
you the most compliments and praise from other people? What do
you do that positively affects the work and performance of other
people more than anyone else?
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Successful people are invariably those who have taken the time to
identify what they do well and most enjoy. They know what they do
that really makes a difference in their work, and they then
concentrate on that task or area of activity exclusively.
You should always focus your best energies and abilities on starting
and completing those key tasks where your unique talents and
abilities enable you to do it well and make a significant contribution.
You cannot do everything but you can do those few things in which
you excel, the few things that can really make a difference.
Eat That Frog! Continually ask yourself these key questions: “What
am I really good at? What do I enjoy the most about my work? What
has been most responsible for my success in the past? If I could do
any job at all, what job would it be?”
If you won the lottery or came into an enormous amount of money,
and you could choose any job or any part of a job to do for the
indefinite future, what work would you choose? What sort of
preparation would you have to engage in to be able to do that work
in an excellent fashion? Whatever your answer, get started today.
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Chapter 11 - Identify Your Key Constraints
“Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun’s rays do not
burn until brought to a focus.”
(Alexander Graham Bell)
What is holding you back? What sets the speed at which you achieve
your goals? What determines how fast you move from where you are
to where you want to go? What stops you or holds you back from
eating the frogs that can really make a difference? Why aren’t you at
your goal already?
These are some of the most important questions you will ever ask
and answer achieving high levels of personal productivity and
effectiveness. Whatever you have to do, there is always a limiting
factor that determines how quickly and well you get it done. Your job
is to study the task and identify the limiting factor or constraint
within it. You must then focus all of your energies on alleviating that
single chokepoint.
In virtually every task, large or small, there is a factor that sets the
speed at which you achieve the goal or complete the job. What is it?
Concentrate your mental energies on that one key area. This can be
the most valuable use of your time and talents.
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This may be a person whose help or decision you need, a resource
that you require, a weakness in some part of the organization or
something else. But it the limiting factor always there and it is always
your job to find it.
For example, the purpose of a business is to create and keep a
customer. By doing this in sufficient quantities, the company makes a
profit and continues to grow and flourish.
In every business there is a limiting factor or chokepoint that
determines how quickly and well the company achieves this purpose.
It may be the marketing, the level of sales or the sales force itself. It
may be the costs of operation or the methods of production. It may be
the level of cash flow or costs. The success of the company may be
determined by the competition, the customers or the current
marketplace. One of these factors, more than anything else,
determines how quickly the company achieves its goals of growth
and profitability. What is it?
The accurate identification of the limiting factor in any process and
the focus on that factor can usually bring about more progress in a
shorter period of time than any other single activity.
The 80/20 Rule applies to the constraints in your life and in your
work. What this means is that 80% of the constraints, the factors that
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are holding you back from achieving your goals, are internal. They
are within yourself, within your own personal qualities, abilities,
habits, disciplines or competencies.
Only 20% of the limiting factors are external to you or to your
organization.
Your key constraint can be something small and not particularly
obvious. Sometimes it requires that you make a list of every step in
the process and examine every activity to determine exactly what it is
that is holding you back. Sometimes, it can be a single negative
perception or objection on the part of the customers that is slowing
down the entire sales process. Sometimes it is the absence of a single
feature that is holding back the growth of sales of a product or
service line.
Look into your company honestly. Look within your boss, your
coworkers and members of your staff to see if there is a key weakness
that is holding you or the company back, that is acting as a brake on
the achievement of your key goals.
In your own life, you must have the honesty to look deeply into
yourself for the limiting factor or limiting skill that sets the speed at
which you achieve your personal goals.
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Successful people always begin the analysis of constraints by asking
the question, "What is it in me that is holding me back?" They accept
complete responsibility and look to themselves for both the cause and
cure of their problems.
Keep asking, "What sets the speed at which I get the results I want?"
The definition of the constraint determines the strategy that you use
to alleviate it. The failure to identify the correct constraint, or the
identification of the wrong constraint, can lead you off in the wrong
direction. You can end up solving the wrong problem.
A major corporation, a client of mine, was experiencing declining
sales. They concluded that the major constraint was the sales force
and sales management. They spent an enormous amount of money
reorganizing the management and retraining the salespeople.
They later found that the primary reason that their sales were down
was a mistake made by an accountant that had accidentally priced
their products too high relative to their competition in the
marketplace. Once they revamped their pricing, their sales went
back up and they returned to profitability.
Behind every constraint or chokepoint, once it is located and
alleviated successfully, you will find another constraint or limiting
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factor. Whether it is getting to work on time in the morning, or
building a successful career, there are always limiting factors and
bottlenecks that set the speed of your progress. Your job is to find
them and to focus your energies on alleviating them as quickly as
possible.
Often, starting off your day with the removal of a key bottleneck or
constraint fills you full of energy and personal power. It propels you
into following through and completing the job. And there is always
something. Often a key constraint or limiting factor is the most
important frog you could eat at that moment.
Eat That Frog! Identify your most important goal in life today. What
is it? What one goal, if you achieved it, would have the greatest
positive effect on your life? What one career accomplishment would
have the greatest positive impact on your worklife?
Once you are clear about your major goal, ask yourself, “What sets
the speed at which I accomplish this goal? Why don’t I have it
already? What is it in me that is holding me back?” Whatever your
answers, take action immediately. Do something. Do anything, but
get started.
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Chapter 12- Take It One Oil Barrel at A Time
“Persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much if they
apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a time.”
(Samuel Smiles)
There is an old saying that, "By the yard it's hard; but inch by inch,
anything's a cinch!"
One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is for you to get
your mind off the huge task in front of you and focus on a single
action that you can take. One of the best ways to eat a large frog is for
you to take it one bite at a time.
Confucius wrote that, "A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a
single step." This is a great strategy for overcoming procrastination
and getting more things done faster.
Many years ago I crossed the heart of the Sahara Desert, the
Tenezerouft, deep in modern day Algeria. By that time, the desert
had been abandoned by the French for years and the original
refueling stations were empty and shuttered.
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The desert was 500 miles across in a single stretch, without water,
food, a blade of grass or even a fly. It was totally flat, like a broad
yellow, sand parking lot that stretched to the horizon in all directions.
More than 1300 people had perished in the crossing of that stretch of
the Sahara in previous years. Often drifting sands had obliterated the
track across the desert and the travelers had gotten lost in the night.
To counter this lack of features in the terrain, the French had marked
the track with black, 55 gallon oil drums, five kilometers apart, at
exactly the curvature of the earth as you crossed that flat wasteland.
Because of this, wherever you were in the daytime, you could see two
oil barrels, the one you had just passed and the one five kilometers
ahead. And that was enough.
All you had to do was to steer for the next oil barrel. As a result, we
were able to cross the biggest desert in the world by simply taking it
“one oil barrel at a time.”
In the same way, you can accomplish the biggest task in your life by
disciplining yourself to take it just one step at a time. Your job is to go
as far as you can see. You will then see far enough to go further.
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To accomplish a great task, you must step out in faith and have
complete confidence that your next step will soon become clear to
you. Remember the wonderful advice, "Leap — and the net will
appear!"
A great life, a great career is built by performing one task at a time,
quickly and well. And then going on to the next task.
Financial independence is achieved by saving a little money every
single month, year after year. Health and fitness are accomplished by
just eating a little less and exercising a little more, day after day and
month after month.
You can overcome procrastination and accomplish extraordinary
things by just taking the first step, by getting started toward your
goal and by then taking it one step, one oil barrel at a time.
Eat That Frog! Select any goal, task or project in your life where you
have been procrastinating and take just one step toward
accomplishing it immediately. Sometimes, all you need to do to get
started is to sit down and make a list of all the steps you will need to
take to eventually complete the task.
Then, just start and complete one item on the list. And then one more,
and so on. You will be amazed at what you eventually accomplish.
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Chapter 13 - Put the Pressure on Yourself
“The first requisite for success is to apply your physical and mental energies
to one problem incessantly without growing weary.”
(Thomas Edison)
The world is full of people who are waiting for someone to come
along and motivate them to be the kind of people they wish they
could be. The problem is that, "No one is coming to the rescue."
These people are waiting for a bus on a street where no busses pass.
As a result, if they don't take charge of their lives and put the
pressure on themselves, they can end up waiting forever. And that is
what most people do.
Only about 2% of people can work entirely without supervision. We
call these people "leaders." This is the kind of person you are meant
to be.
Your job is to form the habit of putting the pressure on yourself, and
not waiting for someone else to come along and do it for you. You
must choose your own frogs and then make yourself eat them in their
order of importance.
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The standards you set for your own work and behavior should be
higher than anyone else could set for you.
Make it a game with yourself to start a little earlier, work a little
harder and stay a little later. Always look for ways to go the extra
mile, to do more than you are paid for.
Your self-esteem, the core of your personality, has been defined by
the psychologist Nathaniel Brandon as “your reputation with
yourself."
You build up or pull down your reputation with yourself with
everything you do, or fail to do. The good news is that you feel
terrific about yourself whenever you push yourself to do your best,
whenever you go beyond where the average person would normally
quit.
Imagine each day that you have just received an emergency message
and that you will have to leave town tomorrow for a month. If you
had to leave town for a month, what would you absolutely make sure
got done before you left? Whatever it is, go to work on that task right
now.
Imagine that you just received all-expenses paid vacation as a prize,
but you will have to leave tomorrow morning on the vacation or it
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will be given to someone else. What would you be determined to get
finished before you left so that you could take that vacation?
Whatever it is, start on that one job immediately.
Successful people continually put the pressure on themselves to
perform at high levels. Unsuccessful people have to be instructed and
supervised and pressured by others.
One of the great ways for you to overcome procrastination is by
working as though you only had one day to get all your most
important jobs done before you left for a month or went on vacation.
By putting the pressure on yourself, you accomplish more and better
tasks, faster than ever before. You become a high performance, highachieving personality. You feel terrific about yourself, and bit by bit,
you build up the habit of rapid task completion that then goes on to
serve you all the days of your life.
Eat That Frog! Set deadlines and sub-deadlines on every task and
activity. Create your own “forcing system.” Raise the bar on yourself
and don’t let yourself off the hook. Once you’ve set yourself a
deadline, stick to it and even try to beat it.
Write out every step of a major job or project before you begin. Then
determine how many minutes and hours you will require to
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complete each phase. Organize your daily and weekly calendars to
create time segments when you work exclusively on these tasks.
Chapter 14 - Maximize Your Personal Powers
“Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies,
focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor.”
(John Haggai)
The raw material of personal performance and productivity is
contained in your physical, mental and emotional energies.
When you are fully rested, you can get two times, three times and
five times as much done as when you are tired out.
Your body is like a machine that uses food, water and rest to generate
energy that you then use to accomplish important tasks in your life
and work.
One of the most important requirements for being happy and
productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all
times.
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The rule is that your productivity begins to decline after eight or nine
hours of work. For this reason, working long hours into the night,
although it is sometimes necessary, means that you are usually
producing less and less in more and more time. The more tired you
get, the worse is your work and the more mistakes you make. At a
certain point, like a battery that is run down, you can reach “the
wall” and simply be unable to continue.
The fact is that you have specific times during the day when you are
at your best. You need to identify these times and discipline yourself
to use them on your most important and challenging tasks.
Most people are at their best in the mornings, after a good night's
sleep. Some people are better in the afternoons. A few people are
most creative and productive in the evenings or late at night.
A major reason for procrastination is fatigue, or attempting to start
on a task when you are tired out. You have no energy or enthusiasm.
Like a cold engine in the morning, you can't seem to get yourself
started.
Whenever you feel overtired and overwhelmed with too much to do
and too little time, stop yourself and just say, "All I can do is all I can
do."
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Sometimes the very best use of your time is to go home early and go
to bed and sleep for ten hours straight. This can completely recharge
you and enable you to get two or three times as much done the
following day, and of a far higher quality, than if you had continued
working long into the night.
According to many researchers, the average American is not getting
enough sleep relative to the amount of work he or she is doing.
Millions of Americans are working in a state of mental fog as the
result of working too much and sleeping too little.
One of the smartest things you can do is to turn off the television and
get to bed by ten o'clock each night during the week. Sometimes, one
extra hour of sleep per night can change your entire life.
Here is a rule for you. Take one full day off every week. During this
day, either Saturday or Sunday, you absolutely refuse to read, clear
correspondence, catch up on things from the office or do anything
else that taxes your brain. Instead, you go to a movie, exercise, spend
time with your family, go for a walk or any activity that allows your
brain to completely recharge itself. It is true that “a change is as good
as a rest.”
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Take regular vacations each year, both long weekends and one and
two-week breaks to rest and rejuvenate. You are always the most
productive after a weekend or a vacation.
Going to bed early five nights a week, sleeping in on the weekends
and taking one full day off each week will assure that you have far
more energy. This added energy will enable you to overcome
procrastination and get started on your major tasks faster and with
greater resolve than you ever could if you were tired out.
In addition, to keep your energy levels at their highest, be careful
about what you eat. Start the day with a high protein, low fat and
low carbohydrate breakfast. Eat salads with fish or chicken at lunch.
Avoid sugar, salt, white flour products or deserts. Avoid soft drinks
and candy bars or pastries. Feed yourself as you would feed a world
class athlete before a competition, because in many respects, that’s
what you are before starting work each day.
By eating lean and healthy, exercising regularly and getting lots of
rest, you'll get more and better work done, easier and with greater
satisfaction than ever before.
The better you feel when you start work, the less you procrastinate
and the more eager you are to get the job done and get on with other
tasks. High energy levels are indispensable to higher levels of
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productivity, more happiness and greater success in everything you
do.
Eat That Frog! Make an analysis of your current energy levels and
your daily health habits. Resolve today to improve your levels of
health and energy by asking the following questions:
1) What am I doing physically that I should do more of?
2) What am I doing that I should do less of?
3) What am I not doing that I should start doing if I want to perform
at my best?
4) What am I doing today that affects my health that I should stop
doing altogether?
Whatever your answers are to these questions, take action today.
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Chapter 15 - Motivate Yourself into Action
“It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and of creative
action that man finds his supreme joys.”
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
To perform at your best, you must become your own personal
cheerleader. You must develop a routine of coaching yourself and
encouraging yourself to play at the top of your game.
Fully 95% of your emotions, positive or negative, are determined by
how you talk to yourself on a minute to minute basis. It is not what
happens to you but the way that you interpret the things that are
happening to you that determines how you feel. It is your version of
events that largely determines whether they motivate or demotivate
you, whether they energize or de-energize you.
To keep yourself motivated, you must resolve to become a complete
optimist. You must determine to respond positively to the words,
actions and reactions of the people and situations around you. You
must refuse to let the unavoidable difficulties and setbacks of daily
life affect your mood or emotions.
Your level of self-esteem, how much you like and respect yourself, is
central to your levels of motivation and persistence. You should talk
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to yourself positively all the time to boost your self-esteem. Say
things like, "I like myself! I like myself!" over and over until you
begin to believe it and behave like a person with a high performance
personality.
To keep yourself motivated, and to overcome feelings of doubt or
fear, continually tell yourself, "I can do it! I can do it!"
When people ask you how you are, always tell them, "I feel terrific!"
No matter how you really feel at the moment, or what is happening
in your life, resolve to remain cheerful and upbeat. It's been said that
you should never share your problems with others because 80% of
people don't care about your problems anyway, and the other 20%
are kind of glad that you've got them in the first place.
In study after study, psychologists have determined that “optimism”
is the most important quality you can develop for personal and
professional success and happiness. It seems that optimists have
three special behaviors, all learned through practice and repetition.
First, optimists look for the good in every situation. No matter what
goes wrong, they always look for something good or beneficial. And
not surprisingly, they always seem to find it.
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Second, optimists always seek the valuable lesson in every setback
or difficulty. They believe that, ”difficulties come not to obstruct, but to
instruct.” They believe that each setback or obstacle contains a
valuable lesson they can learn and grow from, and they are
determined to find it.
Third, optimists always look for the solution to every problem.
Instead of blaming or complaining when things go wrong, they
become action oriented. They ask questions like, "What's the
solution? What can we do now? What's the next step?"
In addition, people who are habitually optimistic, positive and
upbeat think and talk continually about their goals. They think and
talk about the future and where they are going rather than the past
and where they came from. They are always looking forward rather
than backward.
When you continually visualize your goals and ideals and talk to
yourself in a positive way, you feel more focused and energized. You
feel more confident and creative. You experience a greater sense of
control and personal power.
And the more positive and motivated you feel, the more eager you
are to get started and the more determined you are to keep going.
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Eat That Frog! Control your thoughts. Remember, you become what
you think about most of the time. Be sure that you are thinking and
talking about the things you want rather than the things you don’t
want.
Keep your mind positive by accepting complete responsibility for
yourself and for everything that happens to you. Refuse to criticize or
blame others for anything. Resolve to make progress rather than
excuses. Keep your thoughts and your energy focused forward, on
the things you can do to improve your life, and let the rest go.
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Chapter 16 - Practice Creative Procrastination
“Make time for getting big tasks done every day. Plan your daily workload
in advance. Single out the relatively few small jobs that absolutely must be
done immediately in the morning. Then go directly to the big tasks and
pursue them to completion.”
(Boardroom Reports)
Creative procrastination is one of the most effective of all personal
performance techniques. It can change your life.
The fact is that you can't do everything that you have to do. You have
to procrastinate on something! Put off eating smaller or less ugly
frogs. Eat the biggest and ugliest frogs before anything else.
The difference between high performers and low performers is
largely determined by what they choose to procrastinate on.
Since you must procrastinate anyway, decide today to procrastinate
on low value activities. Decide to procrastinate, outsource, delegate
and eliminate those activities that don't make much of a contribution
to your life in any case. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs.
Here is a key point. To set proper priorities, you must set
posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and
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sooner, while a posteriority is something that you do less of and later,
if at all.
Rule: “You can only get your time and your life under control to the
degree to which you discontinue lower value activities.”
One of the most powerful of all words in time management is the
word "No!"
Say "No" to anything that is not a high value use of your time and
your life. Say it early and say it often. The fact is that you have no
spare time. As we say, "Your dance card is full."
For you to do something new, you must complete or stop doing
something old. Getting in requires getting out. Picking up means
putting down.
Creative procrastination is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately
deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if
ever.
Most people engage in unconscious procrastination. They
procrastinate without thinking about it. As a result, they
procrastinate on the big, hard, valuable, important tasks that can
have significant long-term consequences to their lives and careers.
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You must avoid this common tendency at all costs.
Your job is to deliberately procrastinate on those tasks that are of low
value so that you have more time for those tasks that can really make
a difference in your life and work.
Continually review your duties and responsibilities to identify those
time consuming tasks and activities that you can abandon with no
real loss. This is an ongoing responsibility for you that never ends.
For example, a friend of mine, when he was single, was an avid
golfer. He liked to golf three and four times a week, three to four
hours each time.
Over a period of years, he started a business, got married and had
two children. But he still played golf three to five times a week until
he finally realized that his time on the golf course was causing him
enormous stress at home and at the office. It was only by abandoning
most of his golf games that he could get his life back under control.
Continually review your life and work to find those time consuming
tasks and activities that you can abandon with no real loss. Cut down
on television watching and spend the time saved with your family, or
reading or exercising, or doing something that enhances your life.
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Look at your work activities and identify the tasks that you could
delegate or eliminate to free up more time for the work that really
counts. Begin today to practice creative procrastination, to set
posteriorities wherever and whenever you can. This decision alone
could change your life.
Eat That Frog! Practice zero-based thinking on every part of your
life. Ask yourself continually, “If I was not doing this already,
knowing what I now know, would I get into it again today?”
Examine each of your personal and work activities and evaluate it
based on your situation today. If it is something you would not start
up again today, knowing what you now know, it is a prime
candidate for abandonment or creative procrastination.
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Chapter 17 - Do the Most Difficult Task First
“The longer I live, them more I am certain that the great difference between
men, between the feeble and the powerful, between the great and the
insignificant, is energy -invincible determination- a purpose once fixed, and
then death or victory.”
(Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton)
One of the best techniques for overcoming procrastination and
getting more things done faster is for you to start work by doing your
most difficult task first.
This is truly, "Eating your frog." It is one of the hardest and yet one of
the most important of all personal management skills.
You develop this habit by following these steps: First, at the end of
your workday, or on the weekend, you make a list of everything you
have to do the next day.
You then review this list using the ABCDE Method, combined with
the 80/20 Rule.
You then select your A-1, most important task, the job that has the
most serious potential consequences if you get it done or leave it
undone.
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You assemble everything you need to start and finish this job and lay
it out ready for you to start work in the morning.
You clear your workspace completely so that you have this one, most
important task, like a big frog, sitting on your desk waiting for you in
the morning.
You then discipline yourself to get up, get ready and then walk in, sit
down and start on your most difficult task, without interruptions,
before you do anything else.
You do this repeatedly, every day for 21 days until it becomes a habit.
With this discipline, you will literally double your productivity in
less than a month.
Starting first thing in the morning with your biggest and most
important task is the opposite of what most people do. This discipline
breaks you of the habit of procrastination and puts your future
squarely in your own hands.
Starting with your most difficult job, or piece of the job, gives you a
jump start on the day. As a result you'll be more energized and
productive from then on.
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On the days when you launch immediately into your top job, you
will feel better about yourself and your work than on any other day.
You will personally feel more powerful, more effective, more in
control and more in charge of your life than at any other time.
Develop the habit of doing the most difficult task first and you'll
never look back. You'll become one of the most productive people of
your generation.
Eat That Frog! See yourself as a work in progress. Dedicate yourself to
developing the habits of high productivity by practicing them
repeatedly until they become automatic and easy.
One of the most powerful phrases you can learn and apply is, “Just
for today!” Don’t worry about changing yourself for your whole life.
If it sounds like a good idea, do it “just for today.”
Say to yourself, “Just for today, I will plan, prepare and start on my
most difficult task before I do anything else.” You’ll be amazed at the
difference this makes in your life.
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Chapter 18 - Slice and Dice the Task
“The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we
repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it
becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably in thought and act.”
(Orison Swett Marden
A major reason for procrastinating on big, important tasks is that
they appear so large and formidable when you first approach them.
One technique that you can use to cut a big task down to size is the
"Salami slice" method of getting work done.
With this method, you lay out the task in detail and then resolve to
do just one slice of the job for the time being, like eating a roll of
salami, one slice at a time. Or like eating one piece of a frog at a time.
Psychologically, you will find it easier to do a single, small piece of a
large project than to start on the whole job.
Often, once you have started and completed a single part of the job,
you will feel like doing just one more "slice."
Soon, you will find yourself working through the job one part at a
time, and before you know it, the job will be completed.
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An important point to remember is that you have deep within you an
"urge to completion" or what is often referred to as a "compulsion to
closure."
This means that you actually feel happier and more powerful when
you start and complete a task of any kind. You satisfy a deep
subconscious need to bring finality to a job or project. This sense of
completion or closure motivates you to start into the next task or
project and then to persist toward final completion. This act of
completion triggers that release of endorphins in your brain that we
talked about earlier.
And the bigger the task you start and complete, the better and more
elated you feel. The bigger the frog you eat, the greater the surge of
personal power and energy you will experience.
When you start and finish a small piece of a task, you feel motivated
to start and finish another part, and then another, and so on. Each
small step forward energizes you. You develop an inner drive that
motivates you to carry through to completion. This completion gives
you the great feeling of happiness and satisfaction that accompanies
any success.
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Another technique you can use to get yourself going is called the
"Swiss cheese" method of working. You use this technique to get
yourself into gear by resolving to punch a hole into the task, like a
hole in a block of Swiss Cheese.
You Swiss cheese a task when you resolve to work for a specific time
period on a task. This may be as little as five or ten minutes, after
which you will stop and do something else. You will just take one
bite of your frog and then rest, or do something else.
The power of this method is similar to the salami slice method. Once
you start working, you develop a sense of forward momentum and a
feeling of accomplishment. You become energized and excited. You
feel yourself internally motivated and propelled to keep going until
the task is complete.
You should try the "Salami Slice" or the "Swiss cheese" method on
any task that seems overwhelming when you approach it for the first
time. You will be amazed at how helpful these techniques are in
overcoming procrastination.
I have several friends who have become best selling authors by
simply resolving to write one page, or even one paragraph per day
until the book was completed. And you can do the same.
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Eat That Frog! Put these techniques into action immediately. Take a
large, complex, multi-task job that you’ve been putting off and either
“salami slice” or “Swiss cheese” it to get started.
A common quality of successful, happy people is that they are actionoriented. When they hear a good idea, they take action on it
immediately to see if it can help them. Don’t delay. Try it today!
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Chapter 19 - Create Large Chunks of Time
“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your
energies on a limited set of targets.”
(Nido Qubein)
This strategy requires a commitment from you to work at scheduled
times on large tasks. Most of the really important work you do
requires large chunks of unbroken time to complete. Your ability to
create and carve out these blocks of high value, highly productive
time, is central to your ability to make a significant contribution to
your work and to your life.
Successful salespeople set aside a specific time period each day to
phone prospects. Rather than procrastinating or delaying on a task
that they don’t particularly like, they resolve that they will phone for
one solid hour between 10 and 11 AM and they then discipline
themselves to follow through on their resolutions.
Many business executives set aside a specific time each day to call
customers directly to get feedback.
Some people allocate specific 30-60 minute time periods each day for
exercise. Many people read in the great books 15 minutes each night
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before retiring. In this way, over time, they eventually read dozens of
the best books ever written.
The key to the success of this method of working in specific time
segments is for you to plan your day in advance and specifically
schedule a fixed time period for a particular activity or task.
You make work appointments with yourself and then discipline
yourself to keep them. You set aside thirty, sixty and ninety minute
time segments that you use to work on and complete important tasks.
Many highly productive people schedule specific activities in
preplanned time slots all day long. These people build their work
lives around accomplishing key tasks one at a time. As a result, they
become more and more productive and eventually produce two
times, three times and five times as much as the average person.
A time planner, broken down by day, hour and minute, organized in
advance, can be one of the most powerful, personal productivity
tools of all. It enables you to see where you can consolidate and
create blocks of time for concentrated work.
During this working time, you turn off the telephone, eliminate all
distractions and work non-stop. One of the best work habits of all is
for you to get up early and work at home in the morning for several
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hours. You can get three times as much work done at home without
interruptions as you ever could in a busy office where you are
surrounded by people and bombarded by phone calls.
When you fly on business, you can create your office in the air by
planning your work thoroughly before you depart. When the plane
takes off, you can work non-stop for the entire flight. You will be
amazed at how much work you can go through when you work
steadily in an airplane, without interruptions.
One of the keys to high levels of performance and productivity is for
you to make every minute count. Use travel and transition time, what
is often called "gifts of time" to complete small chunks of larger tasks.
Remember, the pyramids were built one block at a time. A great life
and a great career is built one task, and often, one part of a task, at a
time. Your job in time management is to deliberately and creatively
organize the concentrated time periods you need to get your key jobs
done well, and on schedule.
Eat That Frog! Think continually of different ways that you can save,
schedule and consolidate large chunks of time. Use this time to work
on important tasks with the most significant long-term consequences.
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Make every minute count. Work steadily and continuously without
diversion or distraction by planning and preparing your work in
advance. Most of all, keep focused on the most important results for
which you are responsible.
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Chapter 20 - Develop A Sense of Urgency
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and
work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools
will be found as you go along.”
(Napoleon Hill)
Perhaps the most outwardly identifiable quality of a high performing
man or woman is "action orientation."
Highly productive people take the time to think, plan and set
priorities. They then launch quickly and strongly toward their goals
and objectives. They work steadily, smoothly and continuously and
seem to go through enormous amounts of work in the same time
period that the average person spends socializing, wasting time and
working on low value activities.
When you work on high value tasks at a high and continuous level of
activity, you can actually enter into an amazing mental state called
"flow." Almost everyone has experienced this at some time. Really
successful people are those who get themselves into this state far
more often than the average.
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In the state of "flow," which is the highest human state of
performance and productivity, something almost miraculous
happens to your mind and emotions.
You feel elated and clear. Everything you do seems effortless and
accurate. You feel happy and energized. You experience a
tremendous sense of calm and personal effectiveness.
In the state of "flow," identified and talked about over the centuries,
you actually function on a higher plane of clarity, creativity and
competence. You are more sensitive and aware. Your insight and
intuition functions with incredible precision. You see the
interconnectedness of people and circumstances around you. You
often come up with brilliant ideas and insights that enable you to
move ahead even more rapidly.
One of the ways you can trigger this state of flow is by developing a
"sense of urgency.” This is an inner drive and desire to get on with
the job quickly and get it done fast. This inner drive is an impatience
that motivates you to get going and to keep going. A sense of
urgency feels very much like racing against yourself.
With this ingrained sense of urgency, you develop a "bias for action."
You take action rather than talking continually about what you are
going to do. You focus on specific steps you can take immediately.
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You concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results
you want and achieve the goals you desire.
Fast tempo seems to go hand in hand with all great success.
Developing this tempo requires that you start moving and keep
moving at a steady rate.
When you become an action-oriented person, you activate the
"Momentum Principle” of success. This principle says that although
it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and
get going initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going.
The good news is that the faster you move, the more energy you
have. The faster you move, the more you get done and the more
effective you feel. The faster you move, the more experience you get
and the more you learn. The faster you move, the more competent
and capable you become at your work.
A sense of urgency shifts you automatically onto the fast track in
your career. The faster you work and the more you get done, the
higher will be your levels of self-esteem, self-respect and personal
pride.
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One of the simplest and yet most powerful ways to get yourself
started is to repeat the words, "Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!"
over and over to yourself.
If you feel yourself slowing or becoming distracted by conversations
or low value activities, repeat to yourself the words, "Back to work!
Back to work! Back to work!" over and over.
In the final analysis, nothing will help you more in your career than
for you to get the reputation for being the kind of person who gets
important work done quickly and well. This reputation will make
you one of the most valuable and respected people in your field.
Eat That Frog! Resolve today to develop a sense of urgency in
everything you do. Select one area where you have a tendency to
procrastinate and make a decision to develop the habit of fast action
in that area.
When you see an opportunity or a problem, take action immediately.
When you are given a task or responsibility, do it quickly and report
back fast. Move rapidly in every important area of your life. You will
be amazed at how much better you feel, and how much more you get
done.
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Chapter 21 - Single Handle Every Task
“And herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to
husband your resources, and concentrate them, at any given moment, upon
a given point.” (James Allen)
Eat that frog! Every bit of planning, prioritizing and organizing
comes down to this simple concept.
Your ability to select your most important task, to begin it and then to
concentrate on it single mindedly until it is complete is the key to
high levels of performance and personal productivity.
Every great achievement of mankind has been preceded by a long
period of hard, concentrated work until the job was done.
Single handling requires that once you begin, you keep working at
the task, without diversion or distraction, until the job is 100%
complete. You keep urging yourself onward by repeating the words
"Back to work!" over and over whenever you are tempted to stop or
do something else.
By concentrating single mindedly on your most important task, you
can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more.
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It has been estimated that the tendency to start and stop a task, to
pick it up, put it down and come back to it can increase the time
necessary to complete the task by as much as 500%.
Each time you return to the task, you have to familiarize yourself
with where you were when you stopped and what you still have to
do. You have to overcome inertia and get yourself going again. You
have to develop momentum and get into a productive work rhythm.
But when you prepare thoroughly and then begin, refusing to stop or
turn aside until the job is done, you develop energy, enthusiasm and
motivation. You get better and better and more productive. You work
faster and more effectively.
The truth is that once you have decided on your number one task,
anything else that you do other than that is a relative waste of time.
Any other activity is just not as valuable or as important as this job,
based on your own priorities.
The more you discipline yourself to working non-stop on a single
task, the more you move down the "Efficiency Curve." You get more
and more high quality work done in less and less time.
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Each time you stop working however, you break this cycle and move
back up the curve to where every part of the task is more difficult
and time consuming.
Elbert Hubbard defined self discipline as, "The ability to make
yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you
feel like it or not."
In the final analysis, success in any area requires tons of discipline.
Self-discipline, self-mastery and self-control are the basic building
blocks of character and high performance.
Starting a high priority task and persisting with that task until it is
100% complete is the true test of your character, your willpower and
your resolve.
Persistence is actually self-discipline in action. The good news is that
the more you discipline yourself to persist on a major task, the more
you like and respect yourself, and the higher is your self-esteem.
And the more you like and respect yourself, the easier it is for you to
discipline yourself to persist even more.
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By focusing clearly on your most valuable task and concentrating
single mindedly until it is 100% complete, you actually shape and
mold your own character. You become a superior person.
You become a stronger, more competent, confident and happier
person. You feel more powerful and productive.
You eventually feel capable of setting and achieving any goal. You
become the master of your own destiny. You place yourself on an
ascending spiral of personal effectiveness on which your future is
absolutely guaranteed.
And the key to all of this is for you to determine the most valuable
and important thing you could possibly do at every single moment
and then, "Eat That Frog!"
Eat That Frog! Take action! Resolve today to select the most
important task or project that you could complete and then launch
into it immediately.
Once you start your most important task, discipline yourself to
persevere without diversion or distraction until it is 100% complete.
See it as a “test” to determine whether you are the kind of person
who can make a decision to complete something and then carry it
out. Once you begin, refuse to stop until the job is finished.
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Putting It All Together
The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful
feeling of persona power and effectiveness is for you to develop the
habit of eating your frog, first thing every day when you start work.
Fortunately, this is a learnable skill that you can acquire through
repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most
important task, before anything else, your success is assured.
Here is a summary of the 21 Great Ways to stop procrastinating and
get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles
regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thinking and
actions and your future will be guaranteed.
1. Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential.
Write out your goals and objectives before you begin;
2. Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you
spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution;
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: Twenty percent of your
activities will account for eighty percent of your results. Always
concentrate your efforts on that top twenty percent;
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4. Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and
priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences,
positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all
else;
5. Practice the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work
on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value
and priority so you can be sure of working on your most
important activities:
6. Focus on key result areas: Identify and determine those results
that you absolutely, positively have to get to do your job well, and
work on them all day long;
7. The Law of Forced Efficiency: There is never enough time to do
everything but there is always enough time to do the most
important things. What are they?
8. Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Proper prior preparation
prevents poor performance;
9. Do your homework: The more knowledgeable and skilled you
become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner
you get them done;
10. Leverage your special talents: Determine exactly what it is that
you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw
your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well:
11. Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or
chokepoints, internally or externally, that set the speed at which
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you achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating
them;
12. Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish the biggest
and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time;
13. Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine that you have to leave
town for a month and work as if you had to get all your major
tasks completed before you left;
14. Maximize your personal powers: Identify your periods of highest
mental and physical energy each day and structure your most
important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of
rest so you can perform at your best;
15. Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for
the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the
problem. Always be optimistic and constructive;
16. Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything,
you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low
value so that you have enough time to do the few things that
really count;
17. Do the most difficult task first: Begin each day with your most
difficult task, the one task that can make the greatest contribution
to yourself and your work, and resolve to stay at it until it is
complete:
18. Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite
sized pieces and then just do one small part of the task to get
started;
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19. Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large
blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on
your most important tasks;
20. Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your
key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly
and well;
21. Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately
on your most important task and then work without stopping
until the job is 100% complete. This is the real key to high
performance and maximum personal productivity.
Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they
become second nature to you. With these habits of personal
management as a permanent part of your personality, your future
will be unlimited.
Just do it! Eat that frog.
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