Eat that frog!

Is procrastination preventing you from achieving your goals?

As we begin a new year, you may be thinking about all the things you would like to achieve in 2015. You get excited, maybe even a little motivated, but as your list lengthens, you may begin to feel overwhelmed. “Don’t worry”, you tell yourself, “I have the whole year to get to it all.”

But before you know it December is upon you again, days are few and stresses are high. The question comes to mind: “Why did I wait?”

In his international bestselling book, Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy lists 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. Below are some excerpts from Brian’s book to give you some insight and hopefully help you in reaching your goals in 2015.

“The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success, and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for you to develop the habit of eating your frog first thing every day when you start work.

“Fortunately, this is a learnable skill that you can acquire through repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most important task before anything else, your success is assured.

“Here is a summary of the twenty-one 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.”

1. Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you begin.

2. Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution.

3. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top 20 percent.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Use the ABCDE method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organise them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities first.

7. 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.

8. Apply the law of three: Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90 percent of your contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else. You will then have more time for your family and personal life.

9. 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.

10. Take it one step at a time: You can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time.

11. Upgrade your key skills: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done.

12. 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.

13. Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or choke points, internal and external that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.

14. 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 leave.

15. Maximise your personal power: 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.

16. Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive.

17. Get out of the technological time sinks: Use technology to improve the quality of your communication, but do not allow yourself to become a slave to it. Learn to occasionally turn things off and leave them off.

18. Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces, and then do just one small part of the task to get started.

19. Create large chunks of time: Organise your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on your most important tasks.

20. 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.

21. Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important tasks, and then work without stopping until the job is 100 percent 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 success will be unlimited.

Just do it! Eat that frog!

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.