The title of the book comes from an old Mark Twain quote, saying that if the first thing you do is eat a frog, you will do nothing worse the rest of the day. Tracy likens the frog in this quote to the main priority that must be completed each day. And if there are two equally-important tasks, eat the uglier frog, or complete the task that seems most daunting or difficult first.
The person you see is the person you will be.
“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 it is you want, 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.”
Here is a summary of 21 ways to stop procrastinating and getting more things done faster:
- Set the table: Decide exactly what to do. Write down goals and objectives.
- Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute spent in planning can save 5-10 minutes in execution.
- Apply 80/20 Rule to everything: 20% of activities account for 80% of your results. Always concentrate efforts on those top 20% first.
- Consider the consequences: Most important tasks and priorities are those with most serious consequences. Focus on them.
- Practice the ABCDE method continually: Prioritize tasks from A – most important to E – least important to make sure you always work on the most important task.
- 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.
- Obey the Law of Forced Efficiency: There is never enough time for everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important things. What are they? Make sure to identify your top 20% activities.
- Prepare thoroughly before you begin: P.P.P.P.P.
Do your homework: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you will start them and sooner you get them done.
Leverage your special talents: Determine what it is that you are very good at doing and throw your whole heart into doing those things very well.
Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internally or externally, that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating them.
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.
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.
Maximize your personal powers: Identify the periods of highest mental and physical energy and structure the most important and demanding tasks around those times.
Motivate yourself into action: Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive.
Practice creative procrastination: Since you cannot do everything, learn to deliberately put off low value tasks, so that you have enough time to do the few things that really count.
Do the most difficult task first: Begin each day to do the 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.
Slice and dice the task: Break large and complex tasks down into smaller pieces.
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.
Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks.
Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important task, and them work without stopping until the job is 100% complete.
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 percent in terms of money and influence, and the “trivial many”, the bottom 80 percent.
He later discovered that virtually all economic activity was subject to this principle as well. For example, this principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results, 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent 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 five or ten times or more than the other eight items put together.
“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.
You can get control of your time and your life only by changing the way you think, work, and deal with the never ending river of responsibilities that flows over you each day. You can get control of your tasks and activities only to the degree that you stop doing some things and start spending more time on the few activities that can really make a difference in your life.”