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Brian Tracy: Eat That Frog Summary Book Summary

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INTRODUCTION

 

  • You cannot teach a person something he does not already know; you can only bring what he does know to his awareness. (Galileo)
  • When you learn methods and techniques, apply them over and over until they become habits, you will alter the course of your life in a very positive way.
  • I realize that I could change my life and achieve almost any goal I could set for myself if I just found out what others were doing in that area and then did it myself until I got the same result.
  • The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.
  • The key to success is action. These principles work to bring about fast, predictable improvements in performance and results.
  • Your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to start on that task and get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop.
  • If you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.
  • The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is for you to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.
  • Become action orientated.
  • Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete.
  • You are paid and promoted for getting specific, measurable results. You are paid for making a valuable contribution and, especially, for making the contribution that is expected of you.
  • Failure to execute is one of the biggest problems in organizations today. Many people confuse activity with accomplishment.
  • Fully 95% of your success in life and work will be determined by the kind of habits that you develop over time. The habit of setting priorities, overcoming procrastination and getting on with your most important task is a mental and physical skill.
  • Important task completion triggers the release of endorphins in your brain. These endorphins give you a natural “high.” The endorphin rush that follows successful completion of any task makes you feel more creative and confident.
  • One of the keys to your living a wonderful life, having a successful career and feeling terrific about yourself is for you to develop the habit of starting and finishing important jobs.
  • You need three key qualities to develop the habits of focus and concentration. They are all learnable. They are decision, discipline and determination.
  • Your mental picture of yourself has a powerful effect on your behavior. Visualize yourself as the person you intend to be in the future. Your self-image, the way you see yourself on the inside, largely determines your performance on the outside.
  • The person you see is the person you will (Jim Cathcart)

 

Chapter 1: Set the Table

  • There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it. ( Napoleon Hill )
  • Before you can determine your “frog” and get on with eating it, you have to decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish in each area of your life. Clarity is the most important concept in personal productivity.
  • Here is a great rule for success: “Think on paper.”
  • Only about 3% of adults have clear, written goals.
  • One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.
  • Step number one: Decide exactly what you want.
  • Step number two: Write it down. Think on paper. When you write your goal down, you crystallize it and give it tangible form.
  • Step number three: Set a deadline on your goal. A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency. It has no real beginning or end. Without a definite deadline accompanied by the assignment or acceptance of specific responsibilities for completion, you will naturally procrastinate and get very little done.
  • Step number four: Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
  • Step number five: Organize the list into a plan.
  • Step number six: Take action on your plan immediately.
  • Step number seven: Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.
  • Keep pushing forward. Once you start moving, keep moving. Don’t stop.
  • Clear written goals have a wonderful effect on your thinking. They motivate you and galvanize you into action.
  • Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.

 

Chapter 2: Plan Every Day in Advance

  • Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now. (Alan Lakein)
  • How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
  • Your mind, your ability to think, plan and decide, is your most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity.
  • Action without planning is the cause of every failure. (Alex MacKenzie)
  • The six “P” formula. It says, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
  • This discipline of systematic time planning can be very helpful to you.

 

Chapter 3: Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything

  • We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright. (Wolfgang Von Goethe)
  • Often, one item on a list of ten things that you have to do can be worth more than all the other nine items put together. This task is invariably the frog that you should eat first.
  • The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex. But the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous.
  • Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
  • Resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
  • Remember, whatever you choose to do, over and over, eventually becomes a habit that is hard to break.
  • Time management is really life management, personal It is really taking control over the sequence of events. Time management is control over what you do next. And you are always free to choose the task that you will do next. Your ability to choose between the important and the unimportant is the key determinant of your success in life and work.
  • Resolve today that you are going to spend more and more of your time working in those few areas that can really make a difference in your life and career, and less and less time on lower value activities.

 

Chapter 4: Consider the Consequences

  • Every man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel. (Orison Swett Marden)
  • Your attitude toward time, your “time horizon,” has an enormous impact on your behavior and your choices.
  • Long-term thinking improves short-term decision making.
  • Successful people have a clear future orientation.
  • What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?
  • Future intent influences and often determines present actions.
  • Failures do what is tension relieving while winners do what is goal achieving. (Denis Waitley)
  • Motivation requires
  • Thinking continually about the potential consequences of your choices, decisions and behaviors is one of the very best ways to determine you true priorities in your work and personal life.
  • What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my career?
  • Concentration, in its truest, unadulterated form, means the ability to focus the mind on one single solitary thing. (Komar)
  • There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
  • What are my highest value activities?
  • What can I and only I do, that if done well, will make a real difference.
  • What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?
  • The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least. (Goethe)
  • Just begin and the mind grows heated; continue, and the task will be completed! (Goethe)

 

Chapter 5: Practice Creative Procrastination

  • Make time for getting big tasks done every day. Plan your daily workload in advance. Single out the relatively few small jobs that absolutely must be done immediately in the morning. Then go directly to the big tasks and pursue them to completion.
  • Creative procrastination is one of the most effective of all personal performance techniques. It can change your life.
  • Procrastinate on small tasks. Put off eating smaller or less ugly frogs. Eat the biggest and ugliest frogs before anything else. Do the worst first!
  • Decide today to procrastinate on low value activities. Decide to procrastinate, outsource, delegate and eliminate those activities that don’t make much of a contribution to your life in any case. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs.
  • You can only get your time and your life under control to the degree to which you discontinue lower value activities.
  • Continually review your life and work to find those time consuming tasks and activities that you can abandon with no real loss. Cut down on television watching and spend the time saved with your family, or reading or exercising, or doing something that enhances the quality of your life.

 

Chapter 6: Use the ABCDE Method Continually

  • The first law of success is concentration – to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the left. (William Mathews)
  • Think on Paper
  • The power of this technique lies in its simplicity. Here’s how it works: You start with a list of everything you have to do for the coming day.
  • Think on paper. You then place an A, B, C, D or E before each item on your list before you begin the first task. An “A” item is defined as something that is very important. This is something that you must do. These are the frogs of your life.
  • If you have more than one “A” task, you prioritize these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1 task is your biggest, ugliest frog of all.
  • A “B” item is defined as a task that you should do. But it only has mild consequences. These are the tadpoles of your work life.
  • The rule is that you should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when there is a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.
  • A “C” task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not.
  • A “D” task is defined as something you can delegate to someone else.
  • An “E” task is defined as something that you can eliminate altogether and it won’t make any real difference.
  • After you have applied the ABCDE Method to your list, you will now be completely organized and ready to get more important things done faster.

 

Chapter 7: Focus on Key Result Areas

  • When every physical and mental resource is focused, one’s power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • You have been hired to get specific results. A wage or a salary is a payment for a specific quality and quantity of work that can be combined with the work of others to create a product or service that customers are willing to pay for.
  • It is quality of time at work that counts and quantity of time at home that matters.
  • Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin.

 

Chapter 9: Prepare Thoroughly Before Your Begin

  • No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime. (James T. McKay)
  • It is amazing how many books never get written, how many degrees never get completed, how many life changing tasks never get started because people fail to take the first step of preparing everything in advance.
  • The sad fact is that “almost done” probably meant “not yet started.” Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Do the thing you fear.
  • Wayne Gretsky said you miss every shot you don’t take.
  • Say to yourself, “Let’s get to work!” and plunge in. And once you’ve started, keep going until the job is finished.

 

Chapter 10: Take it One Oil Barrel at a Time

  • Persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much if they apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a time.” Samuel Smile.
  • By the yard it’s hard, but inch by inch, anything’s a cinch!
  • Confucius wrote that, “A Journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.”

 

Chapter 11: Upgrade Your Key Skills

  • The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. (Og Mandino)
  • Continually upgrade your skills in your key result areas.
  • If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. (Pat Riley)
  • Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.
  • Refuse to allow a weakness or a lack of ability in any area to hold you back. Everything is learnable. And what others have learned, you can learn as well.
  • The best news is that you can learn whatever skills you need to be more productive and more effective.
  • Get up a little earlier in the morning and read for 30-60 minutes in a book or magazine that contains information that can help you to be more effective and productive at what you do.
  • Dedicate yourself to becoming one of the most knowledgeable and competent people in your field.
  • Listen to audio programs in your car. Turn driving time into learning time.
  • Resolve today to become a “Do-It-To-Yourself” project. Become a lifelong student of your craft. School is never out for the professional.

 

Chapter 12: Leverage Your Special Talents

  • Do your work. Not just your work and no more, but a little more for the lavishing’s sake – that little more that is worth all the rest. (Dean Briggs)
  • Your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your earning ability.
  • Identify Your Key Constraints.

 

 Chapter 13: Identify Your Key Constraints

  • Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. (Alexander Graham Bell)
  • Identify your most important goal in life today. What is it? What one goal, if you achieved it, would have the greatest positive effect on your life? What one career accomplishment would have the greatest positive impact on your worklife? Once you are clear about your major goal, ask yourself, “What sets the speed at which I accomplish this goal? Why don’t I have it already? What is it in me that is holding me back?” Whatever your answers, take action immediately. Do something. Do anything, but get started.
  • One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is for you to get your mind off the huge task in front of you and focus on a single action that you can take.
  • A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. (Confucius)
  • In the same way, you can accomplish the biggest task in your life by disciplining yourself to take it just one step at a time.
  • Leap — and the net will appear!
  • Financial independence is achieved by saving a little money every single month, year after year. Health and fitness are accomplished by just eating a little less and exercising a little more, day after day and month after month.

 

Chapter 14: Put the pressure on Yourself

  • The first requisite for success is to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary. (Thomas Edison)
  • Only about 2% of people can work entirely without supervision. We call these people “leaders.”
  • Your self-esteem, the core of your personality, has been defined by the psychologist Nathaniel Brandon as your reputation with yourself.
  • You build up or pull down your reputation with yourself with everything you do, or fail to do.
  • Successful people continually put the pressure on themselves to perform at high levels. Unsuccessful people have to be instructed and supervised and pressured by others.
  • Set deadlines and sub-deadlines on every task and activity. Create your own forcing system.
  • One of the most important requirements for being happy and productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all times.

 

Chapter 15: Maximize Your Personal Powers

  • Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor. (John Haggai)
  • When you are fully rested, you can get two times, three times and five times as much done as when you are tired out. Your body is like a machine that uses food, water and rest to generate energy that you then use to accomplish important tasks in your life and work.

 

Chapter 16: Motivate Yourself into Action

  • It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and of creative action that man finds his supreme joys. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
  • To keep yourself motivated, you must resolve to become a complete optimist. In study after study, psychologists have determined that “optimism” is the most important quality you can develop for personal and professional success and happiness.
  • When people ask you how you are, always tell them, “I feel terrific!”
  • It’s been said that you should never share your problems with others because 80% of people don’t care about your problems anyway, and the other 20% are kind of glad that you’ve got them in the first place.
  • Control your thoughts. Remember, you become what you think about most of the time.
  • Keep your mind positive by accepting complete responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens to you.

 

Chapter 17: Get out of the Technological Time Sinks

  • There is more to life than just increasing its speed. (Gandhi)
  • Fully 80% of the emails that you receive are of no value, and should not even be opened. They should be deleted immediately. Of the remaining 20%, only 20% of those, or 4% of your emails, actually require an immediate response of some kind. The other 16% can be ignored temporarily, or transferred to an action folder where they can be dealt with one at a time.
  • One of the best rules in dealing with time, people and technology is to just, “leave things off.” Resist the urge to start turning on communication devices as soon as you wake up in the morning. Deliberately create zones of silence in your life where no one and nothing can break through and reach you. Maintain your “inner calm” by forcing yourself to stop on a regular basis and “listen to the silence.”
  • Sometimes to get more done of higher value, you have to stop doing things of lower value.

 

Chapter 18: Slice and Dice the Task

  • The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably in thought and act. (Orison Swett Marden)
  • Eat That Frog! Put these techniques into action immediately. Take a large, complex, multi-task job that you’ve been putting off and either “salami slice” or “Swiss cheese” it to get started.

 

Chapter 19: Create Large Chunks of Time

  • Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets. (Nido Qubein)
  • One of the best work habits of all is for you to get up early and work at home in the morning for several hours.
  • Remember, the pyramids were built one block at a time. A great life and a great career is built one task, and often, one part of a task, at a time.

 

Chapter 20: Develop a Sense of Urgency

  • Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Highly productive people take the time to think, plan and set priorities. They then launch quickly and strongly toward their goals and objectives.
  • You take action rather than talking continually about what you are going to do.
  • Fast tempo seems to go hand in hand with all great success. Developing this tempo requires that you start moving and keep moving at a steady rate.
  • When you become an action-oriented person, you activate the “Momentum Principle” of success. This principle says that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get going initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going.

 

Chapter 21: Single Handle Every Task

  • Every great achievement of mankind has been preceded by a long period of hard, concentrated work until the job was done.
  • The ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. (Elbert Hubbard)
  • Success in any area requires tons of discipline. Self-discipline, self-mastery and self-control are the basic building blocks of character and high performance.
  • Starting a high priority task and persisting with that task until it is 100% complete is the true test of your character, your willpower and your resolve.
  • Persistence is actually self-discipline in action.

 

Here is a summary of the 21 Great Ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thinking and actions and your future will be guaranteed.

  • Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you begin;
  • Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution;
  • Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for eighty percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top twenty percent;
  • Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all else;
  • Practice the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities:
  • 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;
  • The Law of Forced Efficiency: There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important things. What are they?
  • Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance;
  • Do your homework: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done;
  • Leverage your special talents: Determine exactly what it is that you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well:
  • Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or chokepoints, 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 your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of rest so you can perform at your best;
  • Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive;
  • Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything, you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that you have enough time to do the few things that really count;
  • Do the most difficult task first: Begin each day with your 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, complex tasks down into bite sized pieces and then just do one small part of the task to get started;
  • 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. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well;
  • Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important task and then work without stopping until the job is 100% complete. This is the real key to high performance and maximum personal productivity.
  • Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you. With these habits of personal management as a permanent part of your personality, your future will be unlimited.
  • Just do it! Eat that frog.

 

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