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Eat That Frog

21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

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I suggest you read the Eat That Frog book, but if you don’t have the time or want to see if it is for you, then you can read the Eat That Frog summary below.

Please note: This is an unofficial summary and workbook created to help you understand and apply the principles outlined in the book. For full disclaimer details, click here.

The Eat the Frog book by Brian Tracy will help you be more productive in every area of your life. At any given time, we have many different things to do at home or in the office. Since your time is limited, you can’t do everything. No matter how productive you are, there will always be things you cannot do. The only way to get control of your time and your life is by focusing on the few activities that will make a real difference in your life.

Determine the most important thing you can do every day and work on getting it done well.

The methods and techniques described in the Eat that Frog book will help you be more productive and perform at a higher level. Once these methods and techniques become habits, they will change your life in a very positive way.

Review your list of tasks, activities, and projects regularly. Continually ask yourself, which of these, if done well, would have the greatest positive consequences in my work or personal life?

Eat the Frog Meaning

Mark Twain said that if you have to eat a live frog, then do it first thing in the morning. That way, you get it done and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. The idea is that you identify the most difficult task you need to do that day (the frog) and then complete it first thing in the morning (you eat the frog) before you do anything else.

If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, then you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that’s probably the worse thing that will happen all day. Mark Twain

Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task. This is the task 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.

Eat That Frog Summary

The main idea is to tackle the biggest, hardest, most important tasks first. As you tackle your to-do lists you will become more disciplined, efficient, and focused.

If you have to eat a frog, then do it as soon as possible and get it over with. If you have to eat two frogs. Eat the ugliest one first (that is the more difficult task).

Develop the habit of starting and finishing tasks

One of the most important things you can do to have a successful career and feel great is to develop the habit of starting and finishing important tasks.

Step 1: Decide exactly what you want

You need to understand exactly what you want to achieve. Once you have decided to be more productive, the first thing you need to do is to define your goals. Only once you know exactly what you need to do, can you take action.

Step 2: Write it down

Each successful goal starts with a good plan. Write out your goals and objectives on paper before you begin. Clarity is important.

Step 3: Set a deadline for your goal

If you don’t set a deadline, you will land up procrastinating. If necessary, set sub-deadlines.

Step 4: List everything you will need to do to achieve your goal

Every time you think of new tasks you need to do, add them to your list. Once you have outlined your goals, plan your time in advance. Break your goals down into action steps. Break large complex tasks into small steps.

Step 5: Create a checklist

Organize your list of tasks to create a plan. Prioritize the tasks on your list. Create a checklist. Checklists will help you visualize your goals. When you mark a task or look at the ones you have completed, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. This will motivate you to continue. See our free checklist templates.

Prioritize your tasks in order to understand which ones are the most important. Think about the order in which you will need to complete the tasks. Don’t prioritize them in your head. Instead, write them down and organize them on paper. Only 3% of adults manage their time with written goals, and they accomplish 5 – 10 times as much as other people.

Step 6: Take action on your plan immediately

The most important step is to take action on your plan immediately. It is better to execute an average plan than not to execute a brilliant plan. Take action right away.

Step 7: Do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal

Whatever you decide to do each day, make sure you never miss a day.

The following daily planner will help you eat that frog every day.

Image | Typeable PDF | Word

In the “Eat the Frog” section, add your daily frog.

In the to-do list, rank your tasks from A to E using the ABCDE Method described below.

This is a 10-page goal planner based on the Eat That Frog method.

Typeable PDF

Plan every day in advance

Planning each day takes about 10-12 minutes but it saves around 2 hours a day in wasted time throughout the day.

The 10/90 rule is one of the most important rules of personal effectiveness. The rule says that if you spend the first 10% of your time planning and organizing your work, it will save you as much as 90% of your time in getting the job done once you get started.

Apply the 80/20 rule to everything

Use the 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle, in order to decide which tasks to tackle first. According to the 80/20 rule, 20% of your tasks are the ones that will bring 80% of the results. Therefore, you should focus on those important high-value tasks and not the 80% that is probably easier to get done but not as efficient.

Establish your priorities and focus on them

Once you have set your goals, you need to set your priorities.

It is not always easy to make the best decisions in life. It is hard to know what the best choice is, and even harder to follow through on it. But research has shown that people who envision how they will feel in the future are much more likely to make better and more informed decisions. These decisions will be more in line with what we want for our future selves.

Use the ABCDE Method to organize your tasks by value and priority

Brian Tracy suggests the ABCDE method to help you stick to your priorities. According to the ABCDE method, you write a list of tasks and assign each of them a letter from A to E.

A—Mark each item with the highest priority that must be done today—the real frogs in your life—with an A. If you have more than one A task, prioritize them (A­1, A­2, etc.).
B—Mark any task that you should do—meaning something that would have minor consequences if it didn’t get finished—with a B. If you don’t get them done, they might result in inconvenience, but won’t cause any major damage.
C—Mark any task that is not really necessary but nice to do with a C. These items don’t affect your work life at all.
D—Mark anything you don’t need to do or that you can delegate with a D. If you delegate you will free up more time to get more As done.
E—Mark all items you can eliminate altogether with an E. These items don’t make any real difference.

A tasks, are often the most challenging. The author calls them your frogs and suggests you eat them first! Keep working on these tasks until you complete them. Getting your A tasks completed is the key to success.

Focus on key result areas

Identify those results that you must get done. These are the things that are most meaningful to you.

Never stop improving

In order to be productive, it isn’t enough to set your goals and your priorities. It’s a constant learning process. You need to keep learning and adapting yourself as you discover the most effective ways to reach your goals.

  • You need the right environment. This should be a place where you can spend time thinking and be yourself. Ensure that it is clean and tidy.
  • Ensure you have everything you need to reach your goals. This process is similar to preparing your ingredients before you start following a recipe.
  • Find your unique skills and talents that will help you reach your goals and put them to use. If you are not sure what your unique skills are, then ask yourself what comes easier for you than for others. What has helped you reach your previous achievements in life?
  • Keep finding ways to improve. Strive to improve constantly.
  • Never stop learning. You can also learn new skills and refine the skills you already have.

Motivate yourself into action

Your body is the engine of your success. It will function better if it’s maintained well, so take care of yourself. When you look after your physical and mental health, you will be more effective.

It is important not to exhaust yourself. Your productivity starts to decline after 8 hours of continuous work.

Get enough sleep. You will be much more efficient when you are well-rested. Try to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

Different people are more productive at different times of the day. Find out when you are most productive and use those hours to do your most important work.

Self-talk is very important. Since your thoughts create your reality, be positive. Positive thinking empowers you and makes you more confident and creative. Try using positive affirmations to improve your self-confidence and self-talk. Focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Find obstacles

It is important to understand what is holding you back and what the potential or existing obstacles are that will prevent you from succeeding. These could include self-limiting beliefs, other people, lack of resources, bottlenecks, etc.

Overcome the obstacles

Define the obstacles that are holding you back from reaching your goals. Be careful not to blame others for your failures. If you lack the skills, experience, or abilities to achieve your goals, then acknowledge this and make a plan to acquire these skills or abilities or to gain more experience.

Don’t try to get too much done. Focus on one task at a time.

Put pressure on yourself

When you put pressure on yourself, you will accomplish much more.

The author suggests a trick to uncover the tasks you should be working on right now. Imagine you just learned you have to leave town for a month. What would you have to do before leaving? Those are the tasks you should take care of right away.

You must choose your own frogs and then make yourself eat them in their order of importance.

Take control of your own time

Time management is important in order to ensure you use your time efficiently. Break your day into time slots to help you plan your day. If you need time to complete tasks then set appointments with yourself. Use this time to complete tasks you need to do by yourself such as reading your emails. See our free Hourly Planner

Keep your goals in mind every day. Before you do anything ask yourself if it will help you achieve one of your goals or is it a distraction.

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About the Author
Photo of NicoleMy name is Nicole and I created this website to share the tools that keep me organized and productive and help me reach my goals. I hope that you will find them helpful too.

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2 thoughts on “Eat That Frog”

  1. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share all your amazing ideas, suggestions,wisdom and FANTASTIC planners with all of us. They have not only myself but my husband & children just recently asked me to find planners that would be good for each of them. This was a great bonus for me cuz not only did I get to have some fun creating each of their planners but I also scored some much needed quality time with each of them individually but the biggest bonus is that the entire family has become so much more organized, less stressed, on time for work/school ect productive and most importantly there is this sense of happy calm with in our home that definitely was not there before due to always feeling stressed and on the go all the time. It felt like we never had more then 5 minutes for eachother or ourselves but that is a thing of the past we have family night once a week we all get a good solid 8 hours of sleep every night and things are getting done and that I can not thank you enough for!! From the bottom of our hearts — THANK YOU xo
    Who knew 15 mins a day, a little planner book a pen and some highlighters and a few stickers could change your life this much for the better?????
    Again, Thank you for sharing!!!!
    The Corbett Family 🙂


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