Whilst it must get credit for being one of the most unusual titles you’ll find on a business bookshelf, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy also has to be one of the most useful.
In essence, even though the book is 129 pages thick, it offers (in my humble opinion) just one really good piece of advice. It was recommended to me by business coach Katie Demain who described it as a classic – and I can confirm that it has certainly made a difference to me and many others I work with. And since we are in the business of helping people and businesses to use their time more productively, I thought I had to share it.
The point is this. We have many tasks to do in a day: some more important, some less important. There are some very detailed ways in which tasks can be prioritised but this planning itself takes time and effort. As a result, we sometimes don’t even get round to that. What Eat That Frog suggests is a stripped-down version of the principle: each day, when you get into work, take that job that you least want to do, the biggest ugliest task that is sitting there staring at you and do it. Just get stuck in and don’t stop until it’s finished.
The idea is that, if you have to eat a frog, it is best to do it straight away. It is the same amount of effort regardless of when you do it: putting it off doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it makes it worse because you have the task hanging over you for the rest of the day. And every time you look at it, the frog looks less and less appetising.
Conversely, once you’ve eaten the frog, you will find a spring (no pun intended) in your step because you are proud of your achievement. The bad job is out of the way. You’re on a high. And that momentum carries into the rest of the day.
It’s a very simple concept. Which is not to say that Mr Tracy does not go onto say useful things in the rest of the book; he does. But what has stayed with me – and what I hope you may find useful – is his idea of just getting that one big task dealt with at the start of each day. Try it tomorrow: eat that frog and see how it goes!