Eat That Frog Summary: Boost Productivity with Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy’s best-selling book “Eat That Frog” provides a simple yet effective approach to goal-setting and productivity. His book is based on the first-known aphorism of American author Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
This productivity book is written in an easy-to-read style and filled with helpful tips and strategies to help you become more effective and successful. In this Eat That Frog summary, I will discuss the fundamental concepts of this book and how you can use them to improve your productivity and reach your goals.
Brian Tracy is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and business consultant. He has written more than 70 books and given talks in over 40 countries worldwide. He is the founder and CEO of Brian Tracy International. This company specializes in providing seminars and consulting services to businesses and individuals.
Brian Tracy divided this book into 21 actionable chapters to improve your productivity. I summarize every chapter into precise, actionable sentences to make it easy. So, but without further ado, let us dive into this summary of Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy:
What Does Eat That Frog Mean?
Brian Tracy starts his book by explaining what he means about the frog. He describes it this way: The frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can create the greatest positive impact in your life and results at the moment.
He has two rules for eating the frog:
- If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.
- If you have to eat the live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.
#1 – Set The Table
The first rule is about having clear goals and objectives in mind. Some people get more work done faster because they know their goals and objectives clearly. And they stay on track with their goals.
Unfortunately, only about 3% of people have clear written goals. And these people achieve 5 to 10 times more than people who have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want.
The worst thing you can do with your time is to do something that doesn’t need to be done at all. Taking your time and writing down your goals ensures you know exactly where you want to go. So you don’t spend time on unnecessary or unimportant tasks.
Clear, written goals motivate you and galvanize you into action. They stimulate your creativity, release your energy and help you overcome procrastination.
So if you do only one thing in the whole book, take a clean sheet of paper right now and make a list of goals you want to accomplish. Spend a few minutes on the list, think about what you want to achieve, think about your dreams, and write them down.
Remember, people who have written down their goals are five to ten times more likely to attain them.
#2 – Plan Every Day In Advance
One of your top goals should be to get the highest possible return in the least amount of time. And the good news is that every minute spent in planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution. Planning a full day only takes about 10 minutes, and you can save up to two hours by doing this.
Always work from a list and organize the steps by priority, what is most important, and sequence which task you must complete in order. Ideally, you should have a master list on which you write down everything you want to do sometime. Second, you should have a monthly list. Make this list at the end of the month for the month ahead.
Then you should have the weekly list and the daily list. So, again, plan this ahead. Having a clear purpose and objectives in mind when you wake up in the morning makes it much easier to work with 100% focus on these tasks.
#3 – Apply The 80/20 Rule
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pareto Principle. It states that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. This principle can be applied to almost anything; customers you have, profits you made, and so on.
So example, when you have 10 tasks on your list, and all take the same amount to finish, one or two of these tasks will contribute 5 or 10 times the value of any others. Unfortunately, most people procrastinate on exactly these top 10 or 20% of items that are the most valuable and important.
So, to get ahead of your competition, be clear about your top priority goals and work on these.
#4 – Consider The Consequences
People who take a long-term view of their lives and careers always seem to make much better decisions about time and activities than people who give little thought to the future.
The clearer your future intentions, the more they will affect your present actions. You can ask yourself:
- What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?
- What can I do that, if done well, will make a real difference?
- What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
- What are my highest-value activities?
Thinking about the potential consequences of your choices, decisions, and behaviors is one of the best ways to determine your true priorities in your personal life and work.
#5 – Practice Creative Procrastination
You can’t do everything that you have to do. So, whenever you say yes to a specific task, you automatically say no to another. So you have to procrastinate on something.
Say only yes to tasks on your high-priority list and no to other unimportant tasks and jobs.
#6 – Use The ABCDE Method Continually
The sixth rule is very practical and actionable advice. Start with the list of everything you must do for the coming day. Then, place an A, B, C, D, or E next to each item on your list.
- A is defined as a very important task.
- B is defined as a task that you should do. But it has only mild consequences.
- C is defined as something that would be nice to do. But there are no consequences whether you do it or not.
- D is defined as something you can delegate to someone else. Free up more time, so you can work more on your A tasks.
- E is defined as something that you can eliminate altogether, and it doesn’t make any difference.
And the key is to work on your A-1 task and stay at it until it this completed.
#7 – Focus On Key Result Areas
Most jobs can be divided into five to seven key result areas. These represent the results you absolutely have to get to fulfill your responsibilities. A key result area is something for which you’re entirely responsible.
For example, the key results areas of management are planning, organizing staffing, delegating, supervising, measuring, and reporting. A weakness in any of these areas can lead to failure as a manager.
So whatever you do, you must have specific essential skills to do your shop excellently. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. You have to identify them clearly, then set a goal, and plan to become very good in each of those areas.
Ask yourself: “What one skill I could learn would have the most significant positive impact on my career?
#8 – Apply The Law of Three
Brian Tracy writes about an exercise he’s doing with his coaching clients. Take a sheet of paper and write down your three most important life goals in 30 seconds.
They found that when people have only 30 seconds to write their three most important goals, their answers are as accurate as if they had 30 minutes or three hours.
If you have only a short time to define your goals, your most important goals pop subconsciously out of your head.
Try it for yourself and see.
#9 – Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is to have everything you need at hand before you begin. First, clear off your desk or workspace so that you have only one task in front of you. Then, gather all the information report’s papers and put them right next to you.
Set up your work area to be comfortable and attractive for long periods of time – create a work area where you enjoy spending time. When everything is laid out neatly and in sequence will feel much more like getting on with the job.
Unfortunately, many books never get written, or life-changing tasks never get started because people fail to prepare everything in advance. So take the first step and prepare everything for your life-changing mission. As soon as you have everything prepared, it will feel much lighter to begin with.
#10 – Take It One Oil Barrel At A Time
The 10th rule in this Eat That Frog summary is relatively short, and it says:
One of the best ways to eat a giant frog is to take it one bite at a time. First, select a goal or project in your life and then list all the steps you will need to take to complete the task.
If you break down a complex goal into small, actionable steps, it becomes easier to start and follow through. If a task is too big and you don’t break it down, it may overwhelm you.
#11 – Upgrade Your Key Skills
One of the most helpful time management techniques is to get better at key tasks. When you know that you can do a job excellently, you will find it much easier to overcome procrastination and get the job done faster.
Brian Tracy talks about the Three Steps To Mastery:
- Read for at least one hour daily in the field you are interested in and want to improve.
- Take courses and seminars on these critical skills you want to develop
- Listen to audio programs in your car.
Learning new skills is like building muscles through physical exercise. If you do it over Andover again, you eventually get better at it. So take the time and invest in your future self.
#12 – Identify Your Key Constraints
You will face specific problems whenever you want to accomplish any goal or objective. Whatever you must do, there is always a limiting factor determining how quickly and well you get it done.
To make sure you don’t get stuck, ask yourself these questions:
- Why haven’t I reached my goal already?
- What is it in me that is holding me back?
- What sets the speed at which I get the results I want?
Your key constraint may not be obvious. Sometimes you have to list every step in a process and examine every activity to determine what is holding you back. Resolving a limiting factor is the most crucial frog you could eat at that moment.
#13 – Put The Pressure On Yourself
Many wait for someone to inspire them to become the people they wish they could be. The problem is that no one is coming. So if they don’t take charge of their lives and put pressure on themselves, they wait forever.
Unfortunately, that is what most people do. Only about 2% of people can work entirely without supervision. We call these people leaders.
To reach your full potential, You must put pressure on yourself; you must find your own frog to eat. No one else can do this for you. You will accomplish more tasks better and faster than ever by putting pressure on yourself.
Actionable steps to put pressure on yourself is by creating deadlines and sub-deadlines for every task and activity. And make sure you stick to it or even try to beat it.
#14 – Motivate Yourself Into Action
To perform at your best, you must become your own personal cheerleader. To keep yourself motivated and to overcome negative feelings of fear and doubt, repeatedly tell yourself: “I can do it!, I can do it.”
Optimistic people seem to be more effective in almost every area of life. Brian Tracy talks about the four special behaviors of optimists:
- Optimists look for the good in every situation. No matter what goes wrong, they look for something good, and I find it.
- Optimists always seek a valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty. If you have a mindset that you will learn something from every mistake, you will.
- Optimists always look for the solution to every problem. Instead of focusing on the issue, they focus on solutions.
- Optimists think and talk continually about their goals. When you visualize your goals and your future-self, you feel more focused and energized to achieve these goals and future plans.
#15 – Technology Is A Terrible Master
Unchain yourself from your computer. Stop checking Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook every 10 minutes. Unsubscribe from all unwanted newsletters.
By freeing yourself from social media and other distractions, you have more focus and energy on your most important tasks.
Try to unplug from technology for one whole day each week. By the end of your digital detox, your mind will be calm and clear. In addition, you will be much more effective at eating frogs when your mental batteries are fully recharged.
#16 – Technology Is A Wonderful Servant
The next point in this summary of Eat That Frog is the opposite of the last key element. It’s about taking control of your communication and your technology.
Clear a digital workspace as you would your physical desk. Close every program you don’t need for the task and block the websites that distract you the most.
Don’t let technology control you. Stop being enslaved by social media and make it work for you instead. Making technology your servant can be a source of positive motivating emotions and increased productivity.
#17 – Focus Your Attention
Continuously responding and reacting to emails, telephone calls, and text harms your brain, shortening your attention span and making it difficult, if not impossible, for you to complete the tasks a bit upon which your future and your success depend.
Turn off your phone, turn off notifications, and don’t multitask. Multitasking is an illusion. Dozens of studies prove that multitasking doesn’t work. Moreover, you lose much more time when you switch from task to task instead when you focus on the one single most important job.
Here’s a simple way to double your productivity:
- First, Plan each day in advance and select your most important task. Then, you work on this task first thing in the morning.
- Second, Work non-stop for 90 minutes without distraction, then take a 15-minute break.
- Third, Repeat the second step.
- And finally, after 90 minutes of total focus and no distraction, you can check your email and phone.
#18 – Slice And Dice The Task
One of the biggest reasons for procrastinating essential tasks is that they appear large and formidable when you first approach them. One technique to stop procrastinating is cutting a big job into smaller chunks. Write down every step in order and then resolve to do just one slice 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. And as soon as you have completed one single slice, you’re motivated to tackle the second slice.
#19 – Create Large Chunks Of Time
The next point in this Eat That Frog summary is about time. Vital work requires large chunks of unbroken time to complete. Make an appointment with yourself and then discipline yourself to keep them. For example, you could read books for 15 minutes each night before sleeping, and over time, you read dozens of the best books ever written.
Set aside a specific period each day to make something productive. Use a time planner or a calendar schedule and plan it in advance for every day. One of the keys to high levels of performance and productivity is to make every minute count.
#20 – Develop A Sense Of Urgency
When we work on our most important task at a high and continuous level of activity, we enter the state called “flow.” When you are in a state of flow, you feel joyful and clear; everything you do feels effortless and accurate.
One of the ways it 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.
So you concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results you want to achieve. And by regular regularly taking continuous action toward the most important goals, you activate the Momentum Principle of Success. This principle says that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to start but far less energy to keep going.
The simplest yet most powerful way to get started is to repeat the words: “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now.”
#21 – Single Handle Every Task
So we are at the final key point in this Eat That Frog summary. And Brian Tracy describes Single Handle Every Task this way:
Single handling requires that once you begin, you keep working on the task without diversion or distraction until the job is 100% complete.
Once you begin, refuse to stop until you finish the job.
Eat That Frog Summary Conclusion
Eating your frog first thing every day when you start work is the key to happiness, success, and a great sense of personal power and effectiveness.
Read inspiring quotes: 45 Eat That Frog Quotes For More Success
This is a skill that you can learn and get better at with practice. You’ll always be successful if you start with your most important task before anything else.
Decide that you will follow these rules daily until they feel like second nature to you. You will accomplish anything you want in the future when you make these habits a permanent part of your personality.
Embracing the concept of “Eat That Frog” can truly revolutionize our approach to time management and personal growth. By identifying and focusing on our key tasks, we can create large chunks of progress in both our personal and professional lives.
Mastering key skills and addressing key constraints are essential to overcoming challenging tasks, and employing creative procrastination enables us to hone in on the most important tasks at hand.
As we tap into our personal powers and unique special talents, we can motivate ourselves to excel at a high and continuous level, ultimately enhancing all our other skills. Remember, my friends, only I can make a difference in my life, and the same goes for each and every one of you.
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Our future intent influences our present actions, and by acknowledging our weakest key result areas, we can improve upon our poor performance and achieve a greater level of success.
In this journey, it is crucial to maintain a master list of our goals and aspirations, much like filling that one oil barrel with all the valuable lessons and experiences we gather along the way. As we tackle those important tasks head-on, our personal powers will only continue to grow, enabling us to rise above any challenge that comes our way. So, my dear readers, let’s continue to eat that frog and strive for greatness in every aspect of our lives.
I wish you the best, Fabian
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