Do you struggle to achieve your goals?
Do you feel lost and overwhelmed due to the many things you have on your to-do list?
Do you feel you are always busy, yet not productive?
Today, you are going to learn a straightforward method to set yourself up to succeed in life.
This technique is called: “Eat the frog”!
You can take advantage and benefit from this revolutionary method if:
- You don’t get the outcomes you expect,
- You tend to procrastinate,
- You don’t know how to prioritize tasks,
- You are swamped with not relevant and crucial tasks on your to-do list,
- You don’t have a productivity system,
- You want to stop wasting precious time, and start getting results,
WHERE DOES THE TECHNIQUE CALLED “EAT THE FROG” COME FROM?
Motivational public speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy developed this method in the first place.
He introduces this concept in his book “Eat that frog”.
The idea behind this game-changing technique takes a cue from a quote:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”. - Mark Twain
WHAT IS THAT “FROG”?
That frog is nothing less than the most important task you must get done by the end of your day.
It’s likely to be the hardest and most annoying one.
The task you hate and don’t feel comfortable with.
Thus, the task you are more likely to put off.
Yet, it’s also the task with the greatest positive impact on your productivity, hence on your success.
It is a common tendency of human beings to put off things we don't like.
We prefer the easy path to the tough one - instant gratification to delayed gratification - don’t we?
Think for a moment.
Blogging, writing a book, doing physical activity, starting a new business, learning new skills, etc, are all ambitious goals, aren’t they?
Yet, often we procrastinate and don’t pursue them because we do not see the immediate results.
Let me ask you:
How often do you put off difficult and unpleasant tasks, preferring to start from the small nagging ones?
And how often do you end up not getting those difficult and unpleasant tasks done?
If you are like most people, it often happens, doesn’t it?
Human beings are creatures of habit.
Thus, the more you behave in one way, the more likely you are to repeat the same behavior.
That’s why Brian Tracy in his book suggests doing the opposite of what we tend to do to increase our chances to achieve our goals.
He encourages you to start your day tackling the hardest and most impactful thing on your to-do list first thing in the morning.
As a result, you don’t put it off, and you don’t run the risk of not getting it done.
How do you feel once you complete the hardest and most uncomfortable, yet most impactful, task first thing in the morning?
You feel like a winner - a feeling of accomplishment pervades you.
Needless to say, you find it easy to face all the other tasks on your to-do list.
Let’s now dive into 21 tips and principles Brian Tracy outlines in his book “Eat that frog”.
They help you plan, focus, and take action on the most important things in your life.
As a result, you enhance your chance to achieve whatever goal you are trying to achieve.
21 PRINCIPLES - EAT THAT FROG! GET MORE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS DONE TODAY!
Although eating that frog (i.e. doing what you don’t feel like doing, what you feel uncomfortable with) may sound easy, it actually requires you to do some activities and develop specific habits.
Only then can you make the most out of this method.
Let’s make sure you start off on the right foot!
Here is a summary of the 21 principles described by Brian Tracy:
1) DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND WRITE THEM DOWN
How can you expect to hit a target without knowing exactly what you want to achieve?
A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is confusion about what your goals are all about.
That’s why you must have utter clarity about what you want to achieve.
If you are not 100% clear on how to set goals, you don’t want to miss my article: WHY HAVING A SMART GOAL MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.
2) PLAN IN ADVANCE
Brian Tracy recommends having a list of tasks you need to complete to plan your future success.
He suggests keeping multiple lists!
Here they are:
- a master list, on which you write down everything you can think of that you want to achieve in your life,
- a monthly list, where you list all the tasks you want to complete by the end of the month. You prepare the list at the end of each month for the month ahead,
- a weekly list, where you list the tasks you want to carry out by the end of the week. You prepare the list at the end of each week for the week ahead,
- a daily list, where you list the tasks you want to get done by the end of the day. You prepare the list the night before a new day. This enables your subconscious mind to work on the list while you sleep. As a result, you wake up with new ideas on how to achieve your daily goals.
3) FOCUS ON 20% THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Before you start working on your tasks, ask yourself:
“What's worth my time the most?” “What is the n. 1 task that will account for 80% of my results?’”
Make sure you find out which task provides more value, in other words, the one that gets you closer to your goals.
Focus only on that, and the end result is that you’ll accomplish more and will be happier.
4) BE AWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCES
Brian Tracy suggests that before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself:
“What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task”?
By answering this question you can easily find out your frogs, as well as the time-consuming tasks that are not going to pay off the big rewards.
5) PRACTICE CREATIVE PROCRASTINATION
"Everyone procrastinates!", Brian Tracy writes.
"The difference between high performers and low performers is largely determined by what they choose to procrastinate on."
It’s easy to mark off your list the low-value tasks, which are also the easiest ones.
Likewise, it’s easy to procrastinate on high-value tasks because they can be challenging and difficult.
But as mentioned above, these are also the ones that account for 80% of your success!
Thus, your job must be to procrastinate on tasks that are of low value.
Only then will you have more time for tasks that can make a big difference and get you closer to your goals.
Keep reviewing how you are living your life to find time-consuming tasks and activities that you can abandon.
Force yourself to cut down on TV, social media, and other activities that don’t bring any value, except for illusory gratification.
Spend time with your family, read, exercise, or do something else that enhances the quality of your life instead.
6) USE THE ABCDE METHOD
Once you have your daily list, place an A, B, C, D, or E next to each task before you crack on.
- A: things you MUST do; they're your frogs! These are tasks that will have serious positive or negative consequences if you do them or fail to do them. If you have more than one must-do task, you can prioritize further by adding numbers: A.1, A.2, A.3, etc;
- B: things you SHOULD do. Replying to emails, attending meetings, are often should-do tasks. People may be upset if you don't do them, but these activities aren't necessarily getting you closer to your goals, so they're a lower priority than "A" tasks;
- C: NICE-TO-DO tasks. You probably want to do them, but there are no major consequences if you don't, hence they are not your priority.
- D: things you SHOULD DELEGATE to someone else so you have more time for your "A" tasks.
- E: things you SHOULD ELIMINATE. They are only time-consuming and don’t bring any value. On the contrary, they can get you out of track. As a result, you won’t achieve your goals.
7) FOCUS ON KEY RESULT AREAS
Your workplace can be one of the hardest places to focus on your frogs.
There are a million ways you can be dragged into other secondary tasks such as answering emails, joining meetings, or picking up side projects.
To prevent you from losing focus, you need to understand what Brian Tracy calls your "key result areas."
A key result area is something for which you are completely responsible.
This means that if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to work on your key result areas:
“What have I been hired to do? What results am I supposed to deliver”?
“What is the one skill that if I developed and carried out in an excellent way, would have the greatest positive impact on my career”?
By understanding what you're accountable for, you can stop dealing with tasks that aren't related to your job-specific tasks and goals.
As a result, you have more time to develop skills that will serve you in the future.
8) THE LAW OF THREE
Brian Tracy says that the best way to achieve work-life balance is to work at work!
Every minute you waste at work on unproductive activities like chatting with coworkers about your favorite TV shows or scrolling through social media negatively impacts your time away from work.
In effect, you may end up bringing your work home with all the consequences that it implies - either stress, frustration, or unfulfillment.
9) PREPARE THOROUGHLY BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Make sure you get everything you need at hand before you start.
10) ONE TASK AT A TIME
Breaking your goals down into multiple tasks allows you to take one step at a time.
This prevents you from feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating or giving in.
How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite. Likewise, how can you achieve a major goal? Step by step.
11) UPGRADE AND DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS
"A major reason for delay and procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy - lack of confidence or ability in a key area of the task," Brian Tracy says.
Do you update your phone or laptop from time to time so that your device can perform at best?
I guess so! Why don’t you do the same with yourself?
By improving yourself, upgrading, and developing new skills you can perform at your best.
One of the key reasons successful people become successful is that they are constantly improving themselves.
Their success doesn’t happen by chance.
They succeed on purpose. They do what most other people don’t, i.e. read, learn, challenge themselves and take action.
For instance, if you want to become financially independent, you cannot do anything about your finances and expect to become rich.
You need to develop specific skills to make more money, you need to save and learn how to invest your money to increase it over time.
The same if you want to be in shape.
You must update your knowledge about your health. You must learn to eat healthily, and exercise frequently.
No matter what you want to achieve in life, you must always strive for excellence.
“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field”. - Brian Tracy
12) LEVERAGE YOUR SPECIAL TALENTS
Ask yourself on a regular basis these key questions:
- “What am I really good at?
- “What do I enjoy the most about my work?”
- “What can my success so far be put down to?”
13) IDENTIFY WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK, YOUR KEY CONSTRAINTS
Once you have utter clarity of what you want to achieve or become, ask yourself:
- "Why haven't I achieved this goal yet?"
- “What is holding me back?”
Sometimes, the answer to that question can be an external factor.
So, your priority must be to eliminate that constraint so you can devote more time to your frogs.
Yet, according to Brian Tracy way too often, our constraints are internal.
We self-sabotage ourselves, filling our time with low-value tasks and distractions that bring us far away from the life we want.
14) PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
Brian Tracy says that you need to find ways to motivate yourself to eat your frogs by putting the same pressure on yourself that you feel when you're assigned a task by your boss.
How can you do that?
Create your own deadlines.
Give your best to meet the deadlines you've set, and hold yourself to higher standards.
15) MAXIMIZE YOUR ENERGY
Brian Tracy recommends guarding and nurturing your energy levels to make it easier for you to eat the frog, and so be more productive.
Working long hours, failing to get enough sleep, eating unhealthy, can affect your energy reservoirs.
As a result, your productivity suffers.
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts - YOUR TIME IS LIMITED, DON’T WASTE IT! - we all have a specific time in the day when we perform at our best.
Do you know yours?
If not, you may use this trick to find it out: keep a diary and take notes every hour about how you feel and perform.
When you find the time you perform the best, when you have a laser focus, you can use it to your advantage and eat the frog.
To improve your levels of energy ask yourself:
- “What am I doing physically that I should do more of?
- "What am I doing that I should do less of?”
- “What am I not doing that I should start doing if I want to feel more energetic?”
- “What am I doing today that affects my health that I should stop doing altogether?”
Another tip to enhance your energy level is to take one full day off every week from your goal's journey.
During this day, you must refuse to do anything related to the pursuit of your goals.
16) BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER
To make it easier for yourself to eat the frog you must make sure you are in charge of your thoughts and don’t let your mind take over.
Instead of letting negativity screw you up, Brian Tracy says you must refuse to let the unavoidable difficulties and setbacks of daily life affect your mood and emotions.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. - Wayne Dyer
You can either choose to regard challenges as hassles or, on the contrary, as opportunities and prerequisites to improve.
The choice is always yours.
17) SWITCH IT OFF
Even though technology can be very useful, it can also become an addiction and distract you from the things you must get done.
Force yourself to use technology when you really need it.
18) SLICE AND DICE YOUR TASKS
We have already mentioned that once you have figured out exactly what your goals are, you should break your goals into actionable tasks.
Brian Tracy recommends taking a step further and breaking your tasks down into the smallest possible components.
The smaller the task, the easier it is to start and complete it.
You won’t feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
What happens if you set out to climb a mountain and you look at the very top?
Chances are you will be discouraged and you won’t even start climbing.
What happens if instead of focusing on the top you focus on the first ten steps?
A sense of confidence and relief will probably pervade you so that you can start your journey towards the top.
Once the first 10 steps are walked, focus on the next 10, and sooner rather than later you’ll be at the top of the mountain.
The same holds for goals!
If you break them down you are more likely to achieve them.
19) SCHEDULE TIME FOR EATING YOUR FROG
Brian Tracy recommends scheduling time for focused work.
You must make sure you have set a time frame period to work on your main task so that you can eat the frog.
20) ENTER YOUR STATE OF FLOW
When you work on your most important tasks at a high and continuous level of activity, you can actually enter an amazing mental state called ‘flow.
One of the ways you can trigger this state of flow is by developing a sense of urgency.
With this ingrained sense of urgency, you develop a ‘bias for action.
When you regularly take continuous action toward your most important goals, you activate the Momentum Principle of success.
According to this principle, although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get started initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going.
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.
21) FINISH ONE TASK BEFORE STARTING WITH THE FOLLOWING ONE
How often do you start working on a new task even though you have not completed another you were working on?
And where do you get using this approach?
Likely you end up not completing any task.
That’s why when you work on a task you have to make sure to complete it and mark it off from your to-do list, before starting with the new one.
Brian Tracy says: “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 time you feel tempted to stop working on your task or start a new one repeat to yourself: “Back to work”
IN SHORT: HOW TO EAT THE FROG
1) IDENTIFY YOUR FROG
The most important task you must get done, the most likely to be uncomfortable, yet, the one with the greatest positive impact
2) EAT IT
Do it first thing in the morning, so that you don’t put it off, ending up not getting it done.
When you experience a win first thing in the morning you build momentum and good vibes to carry you through the rest of your day.
3) REPEAT THE PROCESS EVERY DAY
The more you do it, the faster you’ll get to your destination.
FIND OUT YOUR FROG WITH THE EISENHOWER MATRIX
The Eisenhower matrix was invented by Dwight D.Eisenhower, president of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
According to the matrix, any task could be judged on two factors: how important the task is and to want extent the task is urgent.
Give the highest priority to the tasks that are both important and urgent; they are your frogs!
The tasks that are important, yet, not urgent, do them later on.
The tasks that are urgent, yet, not important, delegate or automate them.
Finally, the tasks that are neither urgent nor important skip them, this will save you an awful lot of time.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH EATING THE FROG
I’ve been applying this method for a while, and it has been a game-changer for me.
Every time I force myself to do something I don’t feel comfortable with first thing in the morning, everything else feels easy to me.
Eating the frog is my mental training, the gym for my mind!
What frog do I eat?
For instance, I have cold showers every day as soon as I wake up.
Getting out of my warm bed with the intention of having a freezing shower is not comfortable at all.
But, every time I refuse to listen to the inner voice telling me not to do it, I win.
At the end of the day, the greatest challenge we experience is within ourselves, it’s our inner narrative.
Our mind always tends to sabotage ourselves, to make us play small.
It’s our own responsibility to take control of it.
"Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you," Brian Tracy says.
Remember: Consistency and repetition are the mothers of mastery.
If you force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, you take the first step to be successful in the journey you are on, be it financial, spiritual, relational, or related to health.
Remember: Successful people do things that other people don’t want to do.
They don't waste time trying to do everything; they learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get them done.
What about you? Do you want to set yourself up to win?
If so, start eating your frog first thing in the morning no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.
When you feel the resistance, that's a clear sign you have identified the next frog you must eat.
I hope this method will work for you as it does for me.
I am looking forward to knowing what your frogs are and how you’ll feel once you have eaten and digested them.
More resources for YOU: