By: Jacob Robinson & Press Miller
Mark Twain famously said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it First Thing in the Morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.” Click to Tweet
Any guesses on what this means? Mark Twain was declaring – in life, we have tasks we must complete, and it’s best to do them first thing. If you have more than two tasks, tackle the biggest, nastiest, hairiest, task (or frog) first.
Overview of Eat That Frog
The business tome “Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” written by author Brian Tracy was inspired by Mark Twain’s words. He took it a step further, teaching his readers how to get more done in less time. Here are the key takeaways of Eat That Frog.
- 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results.
- 1 minute of planning can save 5-10 minutes of execution.
- Concentrating single-mindedly on your most important tasks can reduce the time to complete by 50%.
- Starting and stopping tasks can increase the time to complete by 500%.
How to Actually Get More Done in Less Time
Plan Every Day in Advance
The number one reason some people get more done, faster, is because they’re absolutely clear about their goals and objectives. The key word here is clarity. Spend every morning before work, or the prior evening planning your day.
Make sure you focus on key result areas, and write out your goals and objectives. An easy way to organize and plan your day is the ABCDE Method. Use this method to categorize your tasks. It will allow you to determine which tasks must be achieved first, and which you can eliminate.
The ABCDE Method:
- A – Very important task you must do (perform services for customers)
- B – Should do (return client emails)
- C – Nice to do (create a product brochure)
- D – Delegate (payroll)
- E – Eliminate (open ended meetings)
Motivate Yourself to Action
Motivation is a catalyst for acting certain ways. Or not acting, for that matter. Some are more motivated than others, but have you ever wondered why?
They’re probably an optimist! To keep yourself motivated you must resolve to be a complete optimist. Becoming an optimist can take some practice and determination, but it’s not hard.
- Decide to respond positively to the words, actions, and reactions of the people and situations around you.
- Refuse to let the unavoidable difficulties and setbacks of life affect your mood or emotions.
Character Traits of an Optimist:
- Optimists look for the good in every situation.
- Optimists seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty.
- Optimists look for the solution to every problem.
- Optimists think and talk continually about their goals.
When you think about it, becoming an optimist is relatively easy. Being an optimist leads to great things, like increased motivation.
“The last of the human freedom is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” – Viktor Frankl Click to Tweet
Develop a Sense of Urgency
Like discussed before, highly productive people take the time to think, plan, and set priorities. Successful people, then launch quickly and strongly toward goals and objectives. They work steadily, smoothly, and continuously, and as a result, power through enormous amounts of work in the same time the average person spends socializing, wasting time, and working on low value activities. As the great Toby Keith put it, “Let’s get on down to the main attraction, with a little less talk and a lot more action”.
A sense of urgency feels like a race against yourself. To develop a sense of urgency:
- Develop a “bias for action”. Take action rather than talking continually about what you are going to do. Become action oriented.
- Focus on the specific steps you can take immediately.
- Build up a sense of momentum. The Momentum Principle says that it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia, but far less to keep it going.
When in doubt, JUST DO IT! If you feel yourself slowing down or becoming distracted by conversation or low value activities, repeat to yourself “Do it now”.
Single Handle Every Task
This is one of the easiest strategies to implement. It only requires focus and determination. To get more done in less time, keep working on your task without distraction until the job is 100% complete.
- Select the most important task and then launch into it immediately.
- Once you get going keep going!
- Take it one step at a time.
Look at a project in sections or individual tasks. Working towards these tasks will make you much more efficient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It was built brick by brick.
Create Chunks of Time and Slice & Dice Tasks
We just talked about focusing on one task at a time. Psychologically, you’ll find it easier to do a small piece of a large project than to start the whole job. Even better, when you complete that single part of the project you’ll feel like doing one more slice.
We have a “compulsion to completion”. We feel happier and more powerful when we start and complete tasks. We satisfy our deep subconscious’ need to bring finality to a job through completion.
BECOME ACTION ORIENTED: A common quality of high performer is when they hear a good idea they take action on it immediately. They learn more, learn faster, and get better results.
Identify Your Key Constraints
In every task, there are constraints that will slow you down. 80% of these constraints are internal. Successful people always ask the question, “What is it in me that is holding me back?” before starting any task. They accept complete responsibility for their lives and look to themselves for both the cause and cure to problems.
In performing this self-assessment, we enter each task more prepared for the hurdles we will encounter. We may even eliminate potential constraints before they become problematic.
Go Ahead, Eat That Frog. You Know You Want to.
Getting more done in less time can streamline your business and your life. When we are efficient and effective, we get more done, and are consequentially more successful. The next time you have a task, go ahead, eat that frog without abandon. Eat that frog and then eat it again. Get more done in less time!