Updated: Jul 18, 2021
Disclaimer: I gain commissions from purchases made through my links, at no extra cost to you.
What a great little book! Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy is a rather short but value packed guide to beating your procrastination and pushing you to become a productivity machine!
I can see this being a great book for someone just getting into the self-help space due to its small size (118 pages) and its easy readability.
With that said, Eat That Frog will provide great value to anybody who reads it because of its easy to implement proactive approach that it takes towards concepts and ideas.
This book truly is a one stop shop when it comes to curing procrastination and supercharging your productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
I've filtered down some of the best ideas and practices which I found from this book that have been of use in my life and I hope that they can be of use for you also.
Discovering the destination
Clarity is key
This a point that was heavily discussed in the last book I read, Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, and it is a point that really does play an important role in our lives.
Knowing exactly what you want is the necessary foundation that allows you to fully focus all of your energy into one point.
A vague idea won't cut it.
"Get a new job" won't cut it, but maybe "Become a software engineer at Riot Games" will.
Write your goals out on paper. Write them in big capitals on your wall.
Figure out what it is that you truly want, resolve with yourself that you are going to get there, and then remind yourself about it at every opportunity. This keeps you focussed.
Work on what truly matters and discard the rest
Within our work we have any number of tasks that we do. But each of these tasks brings us different levels of value.
It is our job to determine which of these tasks bring us the most value and to focus on these.
We can use the 80/20 rule here which states that 80% of the value that is outputted comes from only 20% of the tasks that we complete!
Even if the ratio is not the same for you, resolve within yourself to discover your most and least important endeavours and prioritise accordingly. To make space for your extended effort in your high value tasks, you must become comfortable in removing those of lower value.
Brian also tells us of the rule of three. Here, he says that we can identify three main points of impact in our work or any area of our lives and this will account for 90% of our valuable output.
If we focus on these three key areas, we can significantly increase the value that we are giving.
Upgrade your key skills
"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
When you know that you have the abilities to get the task done well, you fill yourself with a sense of confidence that minimises procrastination and helps you get on with the task at hand.
Remember, what others have learned, you can learn as well, no matter how hard.
Now, locate the key competencies that you want and need to have in order to achieve greater success in your field and develop a plan for you to learn and develop these competencies.
You can read, go to a class, take an online course. Whatever it is, keep yourself accountable and strive to be the best in your field every day!
Make it a habit, every day for 30 minutes to an hour, work through your plan towards your goal.
Laying the lily pads
Plan your path
Planning, planning, planning. This is something that you cannot afford to live without if you have any hopes of achieving high levels of productivity.
Every minute spent planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution
Planning not only lowers your levels of procrastination as you always know what you should be doing but also, they keep you motivated as you can see the finish line, what it takes to get there, and how far you have already come.
So, once you have discovered your destination from the last section, begin to lay down the lily pads for you to hop on to get there. Write down every task that needs to be completed for your goal to be achieved.
Cut that big frog into lots of little pieces
Big tasks are scary. So scary in fact that we often become too scared to even start!
The best way to get yourself to take action on those gargantuan frogs is by chopping them up into lots of teeny tiny pieces that you can gulp down one bite at a time.
Your job is to go as far as you can see, you will then be able to see far enough to go further
Take it one step at a time and you will reach your destination.
Plan every day in advance
As we discussed earlier, planning plays a massive role in procrastination and your ability to get things done in a timely fashion.
Having a plan of action ensures that you never have a moment where you waste time thinking about what to do or if this thing really is worth the time and effort. Those questions have already been answered by your past self. They created a list of your tasks, ordered them by importance, and allocated a time slot for each one so that you, your present self, can reap the benefits of continuous and seamless work.
It doesn't have to be elaborate and it doesn't have to take long. A simple plan that lays out your tasks for the day and when you are going to do them is all that is needed to supercharge your productivity.
I am currently working on a template for a daily planner. Once it is ready, it will be free to access from my website.
Know that fear is part of the solution
When you’re putting your work out there for the first time it is going to be scary, so scary that it is certainly easier to shy away from it and just live the rest of your life not knowing whether you would have succeeded or failed.
That fear of failure holds a lot of people back for their entire lives, leaving them resenting what could have been.
Don’t let that be you.
Be the person who feels the fear and does it anyway! Be the person who chases their dreams! Be the person that makes people say “wow, they just kept working until it worked.”
Make it happen. Don’t let anything hold you back because if you do, you will be kicking yourself in the future for not persevering.
Develop a sense of urgency
If you’re following an entrepreneurial route or starting up a side project, no-one is going to be there to motivate or push you to get your work done, it’s all on you.
There are many techniques that you can discover to keep yourself in check but a very simple yet profoundly useful tool is to use time pressure to motivate you into completing your tasks.
This develops that sense of urgency within you that can otherwise go missing when your boss does not exist and so is not there to keep you accountable.
You are going to have to take responsibility here and maintain your own sense of accountability.
It's on you!
Prepare thoroughly before you begin
As the French would say, mise en place.
Before getting going with a task, you should get everything that you will need to complete it ready and at hand. This will allow you to remain focussed and free from unnecessary distractions during your work session.
All information, papers, websites, books, tools, numbers, anything that you will need, have it ready. Otherwise, you will lose your concentration on the task at hand to find these things and your efficiency and effectiveness will decrease.
Effectively devouring frogs
Getting the beginning of your workday going with the hardest task before you (the ugliest, slimiest, fattest frog of them all) is a great way to get a lot done.
If you allow yourself to put off that big task and build up to it by beginning with the smaller, easier tasks, you are slowing down your own rate of progress. We learn the most from our most difficult trials.
Plus, for me, I often find that I just keep putting it further and further off, until it is too late, the day is over and now, I can’t get that big, valuable task done.
These big fat frogs are what is going to bring the most value into your life. I know that they’re scary and I know that they’re hard but I also know that YOU are a dedicated individual who wants the most from their life, so you won’t let that get in your way!
Technology is a wonderful servant but a terrible master
In our era, we have before us an uncountable number of amazing resources where we can learn and achieve great things with nothing other than an internet connection.
But we have to make that choice for ourselves.
Technology as powerful as this facilitates the possibility of these achievements and successes but it is ultimately our decisions and dedications that will cause them to come to fruition.
We can choose to use our technology to learn, grow, and achieve... Or we can let it control us, allowing notifications and pings to seep into every crevice of our life until we no longer decide for ourselves what we do.
We only react to our friend’s messages, the latest news article, or Ali Abdaal’s latest video. (They’re great btw, you should watch them).
Make the decision now to take back the control and learn to disconnect from technology at times. Turn off those notifications and even turn the phone off completely during your work sessions so that you're not tempted and your mind doesn't wander.
Focus your attention
Attention is a commodity nowadays and we have to protect ours.
We must diligently choose where we direct our attention and upon what we focus.
Consistent distractions inevitably lead to a diffused attention which then inevitably leads to underachievement and failure.
Distractions take our mind away from the important frog that we are dealing with and leaves us in the dark, struggling to find it again.
“it takes about 17 minutes for you to shift your total attention back to your task and continue working.”
Now, to start you off on your journey of winning back your attention, take this advice; don’t trigger an all day dopamine addiction by checking your devices first thing in the morning and check those emails/messages at designated times throughout the day to maintain your focus and increase your efficiency.
One frog at a time
Great. You have written out all of your tasks and you’ve listed them out in order of importance.
Now get eating the ugliest frog! Don't stop until it has been fully devoured!
If you flit from frog to frog you are just slowing yourself down. As we just discovered, moving our attention from task to task lowers our effectiveness across the board.
We need to remain focussed and engaged on the task at hand until it is 100% complete, this is the mark of a true high achiever.
Working through your tasks in this manner puts you in the mindset of someone who gets things done. Working with this streamlined focus enhances your speed and quality of work. Make working in this way a habit and you won't regret it.
Take big, BIG bites
To allow yourself to stay on task for a long period of time, you have to give yourself that time to complete the task.
When planning your day, block out large chunks of time that are each dedicated to concentrating on one specific frog.
As mentioned throughout, having large periods of unbroken concentration and focus is paramount in producing maximum productivity and success.
Working in these large time chunks gives you the freedom to enter your flow state in which you are working with maximum speed, quality, and creativity.
Firstly, I want to show my love and appreciation for any of you have read this far. It means a great deal to me and I hope that you can share any critiques that you found in the comments so that I can improve my writing and bring you better content in the future :)
I hope that you enjoyed my summarised guide to maximising your productivity and I hope that you implement the tools that I have gone over today as they have proven extremely beneficial in my life and I think they will do the same in yours.
Now, go eat that frog! Munch on it! Devour it! Engulf it! Enjoy it?