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31 Lessons On Personal Effectiveness By Brian Tracy

Category: Fantastic Reads, Productivity

Eat That Frog - 31 Lessons On Personal Effectiveness By Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’ – by Brian Tracy has been on my reading list ever since I heard about the concept of Eat That Frog.

Here’s the introduction on back cover of the book:

Get More of the Important Things Done Today

There just isn’t enough time for everything on our ‘To Do’ list – and there never will be. Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. Using ‘eat that frog’ as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life – Eat That Frog! Shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day. You’ll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done.

31 Lessons on Personal Effectiveness from ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy

  • 1. Work On Your Most Important Task
    Identify and work on your most important task – one which will have maximum positive impact on you / your life (your frog) first thing in the morning. Make this a habit.
  • 2. Learn From Experts
    Find out what experts are doing and do the same thing till you get the same results. People who do things better than you aren’t necessarily better than you. They just do things better/differently.
  • 3. Be Selective
    Don’t work on whatever comes up. Choose what you are going to work on.
  • 4. Don’t Think; Just Do
    Don’t spend too much time thinking about important tasks you don’t like. Letting the task be or ignoring it or staring it is not going to make the task any easier. Just get going. Begin the task and complete it without thinking much about it.
  • 5. Get Addicted in a Positive Way
    Whenever you finish your most important/difficult tasks, endorphins get released in your brain – they make you feel good about yourself. Get addicted to these endorphins. Get addicted to the rush and satisfaction of completing important tasks.
  • 6. Get Clear
    Lack of clarity leads to procrastination. When you know clearly what you are supposed to do and why, it motivates you and pushes you forward to take the next step towards your goals.
  • 7. Plan In Advance – The 10/90 Rule of Personal Effectiveness
    10% of time you spend in planning and organizing your work before you begin will save 90% of time in getting the job done once you get started. Take some time to plan your work before beginning your day (preferably plan the night before).

    Think on Paper.

  • 8. Work From A List
    Always work from a list. You increase your productivity and output by 25% once you start doing everything from your list. Create a master list, monthly list, weekly list and daily list.
  • 9. Follow The 80-20 Rule
    As per the 80-20 Rule, 20% of tasks you do give you 80% of results. If you have 10 items to do, 2 items from that will be worth way more than the rest 8 items put together. What are those 2 items for you?

    All 10 items from your list can take same amount of time. However, each item gives different results. The average person procrastinates on the 2 items – on the 20% which gives you most results. What activities are you focusing on?

    Refuse to work on tasks which fall under the 80% until you are done working on the 20%

  • 10. Obey The Law of Forced Efficiency
    The law of forced efficiency says that “There is never enough time to do everything, but always enough time to do the most important thing.” Work on things that matter since no matter how much you do, you will always leave some tasks pending.
  • 11. Ask Yourself These Three Questions for Maximum Productivity
    • 1. What are my highest value activities?
    • 2. What can I and only I do that if done well will make a real difference?
    • 3. What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
  • 12. Procrastinate Creatively … Procrastinate On Purpose
    There is never going to be enough time for you to do everything on your list. Most people procrastinate unconsciously – by choosing to do certain things, they procrastinate the rest of things. Because of procrastinating without thinking, they procrastinate on their most important tasks – ones which could have a greater positive impact on their lives and careers. Instead, procrastinate knowingly, procrastinate deliberately on activities which produce low or negligible results.
  • 13. Say No
    No is the most powerful word in time management, the most important word in your vocabulary – need I say more?
  • 14. Use The ABCDE Method Continually
    Assign a A,B,C,D or E to each task based on it’s importance. Prioritize tasks under each letter by setting a numerical sequence. Follow the Letter – Number combination. Never pick a B activity when A is yet undone. Never pick a C activity when B is yet to be done … so on and so forth.

    • A consists of all your frogs
    • B consists of all ‘should do’ activities
    • C consists of ‘nice to get done’ activities
    • D consists of tasks which should be delegated
    • E consists of tasks which should be eliminated

  • 15. Focus On Your 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.
  • 16. Strengthen Your Weakest Link
    Each job will have 5-7 key result areas. Your weakest key result area is the limit at which you can use all your skills and abilities (similar to the strength of a chain is in it’s weakest link). To get better results, strengthen your weak areas.
  • 17. Apply The Law Of Three
    Write down your three most important goals in life right now in 30 seconds. Whether you are given 30 seconds or 30 minutes, the answer is usually the same. This is because when you are given only 30 seconds, your subconscious kicks in and gives you the answer you need quickly.

    The Law Of Three can be applied anywhere in your life. Follow this exercise – write down answers to each of these questions in 30 seconds … be quick

    • 1. What are your three most important business or career goals right now?
    • 2. What are your three most important family or relationship goals right now?
    • 3. What are your three most important financial goals right now?
    • 4. What are your three most important health goals right now?
    • 5. What are your three most important personal and professional development goals right now?
    • 6. What are your three most important social and community goals right now?
    • 7. What are your three biggest problems or concerns in life right now?
  • 18. Create A Work Friendly Environment
    Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Have everything you need at hand before you start. Assemble all the papers, information, tools, work materials, and numbers you might require so that you can get started and keep going.
  • 19. How Do You Eat A Elephant? – One bite at a time.
    How do you finish a huge project? One step at a time. You can complete any kind of project – no matter how overwhelming if you focus on completing just one step at a time.
  • 20. Become A Life Long Student
    Feeling of inadequacy, lack of confidence leads to procrastination. Work on mastering your field, your core competencies to increase productivity. Lead your field.

      Three Steps To Mastery

    • 1. Read at least one hour
    • 2. Upgrade your skills. Learn from experts, take seminars/courses/ workshops etc … anything which can keep you updated. Dedicate yourself to become one of the most knowledgeable and competent person in your field
    • 3. Make most of your driving time. Listen to audio programs in your car.
  • 21. Eliminate Your Key Constraints
    What is holding you back? Identify a single major constraint which is slowing you down or is the reason you procrastinate. Put all your energy into eliminating that constraint.

    Apply the 80-20 rule to constraints. 80% of constraints usually are internal – which means they are workable. Identify the top 20% of constraints amongst these and get set to remove them.

  • 22. Set deadlines
    Deadlines beat procrastination and get you going. Set imaginary deadlines if you must. And see how fast you eat your frogs.
  • 23. Maximize Your Personal Power
    Figure out when are you physically and mentally most productive. Schedule your important and tough tasks at this time.

    Sleep well, eat well and work out well. How rested and physically fit you are directly impacts the quantity and quality of your work.

  • 24. Motivate Yourself – Be Your Personal Cheerleader
    Psychologist Nathaniel Branden defines self esteem as “the reputation you have with yourself”. How you feel about yourself plays a central role in how you perform. Control your inner dialogue. Use positive affirmations. Don’t say/think things which make you doubt yourself or make you fearful.
  • 25. Become A Optimist
    Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism states that optimism is the most important quality you can develop for personal and professional success. Optimism can be learned through practice and repetition. Here are four special behaviors all optimists have –

    • 1. Look for good in all situations
    • 2. Seek valuable lesson in every set back or difficulty
    • 3. Look for solution to every problem
    • 4. Think and talk continually about your goals

  • 26. Be Master Of Technology & Not Slave
    Technology if used unwisely can be a huge time waster. Don’t get addicted to technology. Detaching from technology from time to time can help you center and focus on things that matter.

    Apply 80-20 Rule To Technology. Only 20% of all emails you get are important. Out of those 20%, only 20% need immediate response. The rest can be put aside for batch processing.

  • 27. Create A Zone Of Silence
    Create zones of silence during your day to day activities. Schedule for technology free hour in morning and noon. It will help you to center and relax your mind. It will help you to recharge your batteries.

    You can take this further and schedule for technology free days as well.

  • 28. Use The Slice And Dice Approach
    There are two ways to use the slice and dice approach to work on huge projects –

    • 1. Work on one slice of project per day and then carry on with other activities.
    • 2. Work for one slice of time (15 min, 30 mins, 1 hour … whatever time you decide) and then carry on with other activities.

    Over a period of time, you will be able to complete the project without experiencing a lot of resistance from your side.

  • 29. Create Large Chunks Of Time
    Identify when do you have large chunks of free time and assign it to important tasks. Plan the rest of tasks around this time. Schedule activities to ensure they get done.
  • 30. Make Most of Gifts of Time
    Flight time, waiting time etc are what author refers to as gifts of time. You get free, undisturbed time while flying or waiting. Plan in advance what work you can accomplish at times like this.
  • 31. Complete What You Start
    Once you start a task, don’t stop till you are 100% done. Work with single focus. When you have identified and are working on your most important task, doing anything else in between is a waste of time. Discipline yourself to work without distraction on the task in hand till it is 100% completed.

You can read entire first chapter of the book Eat That Frog! for free over here

More Books by Brian Tracy:

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Photo: Yogma

Reader's Comments

  1. Oscar - freestyle mind | January 13th, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Those are fantastic lessons, and thank for sharing Avani.

    I keep telling myself that I have to read that book again, now I’ve put it in my todo list :)
    .-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s awesome post ..The Law of Attraction =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 13th, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Oscar, it seems like me your book reading wish list must be never ending – considering you add up already read books to it :) This is the first time I read the book. Hopefully I don’t have to read it again and my 31 lessons suffice any revision I need.

      Reply to this comment
  2. J.D. Meier | January 13th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Very nice! I like the precision and it’s actionable.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s awesome post ..Lessons Learned from Tony Robbins =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 14th, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      JD, that’s the part I really liked about the book – it’s actionable. And not complicated.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Tess The Bold Life | January 14th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I sure need to get that book!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post ..Why I Love To Blog =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 14th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      Tess, it took me years to finally get this book in my hand. Hopefully it’s earlier for you.

      Reply to this comment
  4. vered | blogger for hire | January 14th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    It’s SO true that you shouldn’t try to do EVERYTHING, but learn to focus on what’s important. When I learned to do that, a lot of the chaos was gone from my life. I think it’s important not to feel guilty about prioritizing and letting go of some of the items on that never-ending to do list.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s awesome post ..Clutter Free Home: Six Useful Tips =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 15th, 2010 at 2:02 am

      Vered, partially this is difficult because we try to do what’s important to everyone rather than just focus on what’s important to us. I have started to often ask myself ‘does this matter to me’ or ‘is this important to me’ to understand what can I choose and what can I let go.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Zeenat{Positive Provocations} | January 14th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Avani,
    Love this list! Awesome point ot ponder over hmmm…Now I have to have to run out and get my copy of this awesome book! :) Thank you fro sharing these tips.
    Much Love~
    .-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s awesome post ..Recurring Patterns =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 15th, 2010 at 2:03 am

      Zeenat, you are welcome. I had a good time reading it. Lot of lessons. Now if only I can implement all of them …. :)

      Reply to this comment
  6. Zeenat{Positive Provocations} | January 14th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    sorry…awesome points to ponder over…small typing error :)

    Reply to this comment
  7. Brain Stroom | January 15th, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Thank you for sharing ..
    currently reading GTD

    Reply to this comment
  8. Jannie Funster | January 18th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    All these list posts contain “make a list” and that is one I can definitely incorporate today!! One can not underestimate the effectiveness of checking off a list indeed.

    A list of 10 things is a nice round daily number for me. How ’bout you, Avani??
    .-= Jannie Funster´s awesome post ..Am I The Only One…? =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 19th, 2010 at 1:37 am

      Jannie, make a list is one productivity tip I use a lot – in all sort of ways. The other one is creating and following a time table (although mine is flexi). 10 is a good number – not too big, not to small.

      Reply to this comment
  9. David @ A Happy Pocket Full of Money | February 1st, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for this post, Avani. A very useful list indeed. I will link to it from my blog so my readers can also benefit from it.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | February 3rd, 2010 at 12:00 am

      David, thank you for linking to it. I appreciate the gesture. Am excited that you liked it so much :)

      Reply to this comment
  10. Constance | November 8th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I really enjoyed and was inpsired by the list and summary of the lessons. I have, however, laid my hands on the book after wondering and prosactinating when to read the book. Your write up has energised me to complete my presentation paper on “Goals!How to GetbEverything You Want- Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible”

    Reply to this comment
  11. Manish | March 11th, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Hi Avani,

    This is such good information to read and implement. Thanks for posting it. Do share if you have some more like these

    Reply to this comment


  1. […] If I lost you…just keep on reading… Another good one to check out is this one, which has 31 Lessons on Personal Effectiveness. Just go through the list, I am sure you will find it […]

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