An English poet by the name of Edward Young once said,
“Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, ‘til all are fled, and to the mercies of a moment leaves the vast concerns of an eternal scene.”
This may sound a bit dramatic to some of you, but in all reality, procrastination is a real killer. How many times have you sworn up and down you were going to do something, but when it came time to put in work you decided it wasn’t the right time or you just didn’t feel like it?
I know I’ve done this more times than I can count.
Mark Twain said that if you wake up each morning and eat a frog, you’ll most likely have the satisfaction of knowing that will be the worst thing to happen to you all day.
In reality, your “frog” is your most important task of the day that you are most likely to put off. On days where you have more than one frog, the rule is to eat the ugliest one first.
This book – Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy – has given me great tools that I use daily to make sure my frogs get eaten – to overcome my procrastinating habits.
1. Goal Setting
When you write out your goals, it has an amazing impact on your thought process and your procrastinating behavior. Having your goals visible on paper makes them clearer in your mind and more achievable to your subconscious. You should be thinking about your goals and review them every day in order to keep yourself motivated and determined to accomplish them.
Plan out every day in advance with an action list on how you are going to eat your biggest frog immediately, and then keep going. You should always be working from a list and when something new comes up, it should be added to the list before it gets done.
2. Different Kinds of Lists
If you wrote down everything you wanted to accomplish on one list and tried to work off that, you’d probably get overwhelmed. That’s why the author categorizes things using different lists.
There is a master list, a monthly list, a weekly list, and a daily list. The master list is where you write down every single thing you want to get done in the future.
Your monthly list should be made at the end of each month to plan out your next 30 days. You want to be transferring items from the master list to your monthly lists according to your overall goals.
Following suit from the monthly list, your weekly list is made at the end of each week to plan the following week. Tasks get transferred from the monthly list to the weekly list as new weeks come, and tasks from your weekly list will then be put on your daily list that you should be making at the end of each day.
I personally only have a master list and a daily list because that’s what works best for me, but different people need different things to avoid their procrastinating habits.
3. The ABCDE Method
When you have tasks you need to accomplish, they obviously need to be prioritized and this method is a great way of doing so. Use A, B, C, D, and E to put an order to your lists.
“A” should be put next to anything that is important and needs to get done. This task will either have a serious positive impact when finished or consequence if not.
“B” goes next to the tasks you should do. These still hold some level of importance, but will not have any severe consequences if not accomplished.
Then, of course, “C” would be placed next to the tasks that you would like to do, holding zero consequence if not done.
“D” in this scenario stands for “Delegate.” These are the tasks you can ask or tell someone else to do for you so you can free up time for the A’s, B’s, and C’s.
Finally, “E” stands for “Eliminate.” I’m sure no explanation is required there.
4. Getting Started
Once you have your lists completed, it’s time to get some shit done. After you know what task you are about to take care of, get in a comfortable workspace and rid yourself of any distractions.
Put everything you need in front of you to accomplish whatever it is you are about to do. Everything else can be put on the floor or in another room if necessary. Now get it done!
Before reading this book, I honestly had a lot of things on a lot of to-do lists and I felt very unorganized and overwhelmed. I now only have the two lists, master and daily, and because of that, I find it so much easier to avoid procrastinating behavior and plan out my goals and therefore get so much more done.
The book itself has some fluff to it, but it’s a fairly short read and the overall idea of eating the frog is a great tool for getting your life in order and putting an end to the procrastination.
If you are someone who does have issues with taking care of business when business needs to be taken care of, I think this book will be a big help to avoid procrastinating your tasks.