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Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

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Eat That Frog (audiobook) is a book written by Brian Tracy and it is a compilation of ideas and techniques from many influencers in the time management and personal productivity industry. The book covers many different ways of overcoming procrastination and it makes it very accessible for people to apply the techniques. It’s written in very simple terms – don’t expect any jargon or scientific studies to back up the methods. The advice given all comes from the real life experience of the author, and the focus of the book lies in actionable exercises and tips you implement right away. This also a book that comes up in our productivity community, The Dojo, all the time.

There are 21 chapters and each chapter introduces a different idea, tip, or technique that will help you overcome procrastination and get more things done. The subtitle of the book, 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, reveals that there are 21 different techniques. Below are my notes and a summary of some of the main concepts of Eat That Frog.

Write everything down

Brian Tracy, like many time management experts, utilizes the power of writing things down – especially when it comes to planning and goal setting. Throughout the book whole the author will encourage you to try out different exercises but he also encourages you to do them on pen and paper. In today’s world you can translate most of the writing into digital capturing but there is something to writing it down on paper – a goal written down on a piece of paper has a different effect than something typed up in a text file, and Brian Tracy will remind you of this.

Eat That Frog

The name of the book is is also one of the main concepts taught and its name is derived from a quote of Mark Twain, who famously said:

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

The idea behind it is that each morning if you complete a task that you will most likely procrastinate on, you go about your day knowing you’ve done it and the rest of your day will be easy in comparison. For example, let’s say you have to do laundry, grocery shopping and prepare a report on the same day, and you know that you hate doing laundry. According to the book, the way to prioritize your to do list is to start doing the task that you will most likely procrastinate on. In this case, it would recommend that you do your laundry first before you do anything else. Once you have gotten the dreadful task out of the way, going grocery shopping and preparing a report don’t look that bad in comparison and you will feel more empowerment.

It’s a very simple technique but one of the most powerful in my opinion. It has been a big game changer for myself in the amount of work I can do in a day. I often refer to this technique as “frog eating” and whenever I have to prioritize my to do list I always remind myself with this catchphrase: if you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

Success Habits

There are a lot of good habits introduced throughout the book and the author wants you to learn all of them to help you succeed in your career. Brian Tracy puts it eloquently how important habits are:

Your success in life is the sum of your habits.

One of the mindsets given about this is that you want to develop the habit of starting and completing tasks – do that and you will enjoy success. There are many more in the book that anyone can incorporate – no matter if you are a beginner or an advanced student of time management.

Purpose of Time Management

It’s nice to be able to do effectively work on projects and be more organized, but you have to remember that time management is a means to an end. The real purpose of time management, according to Brian Tracy, is to free up time to live life and to enjoy it with the people you care about. All the tips and techniques in the book will help you achieve this, but never lose sight that the real purpose behind it all is to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Recommendation

Eat That Frog is the most accessible book on time management and personal productivity – I recommend you read this one before you learn any particular time management system. There are tons of exercises and techniques that you can implement right away, and that is what I like the most about the book – it gives you actionable steps so you can start right away. There is not a lot of theory and the book’s focus is on implementation.

Once you have read the book as your foundation – learning or adapting a productivity system will be easier. If you are serious about getting more things done, this would be a great book to start with. You can grab a copy here on Amazon (audiobook).

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5 Comments

Posted by ssor_g  | January 25, 2018 at 6:43PM | Reply

That’s one more reason to love audiobooks: it gets right into your brain and invite you to eat frogs even more.
As a big fan of Brian Tracy , I can only encourage to read (or listen to this one) as it is one of the funniest and straight to the point books about productivity.
As for choosing what frog to eat first, our team at Zenkit created a free online tool to manage tasks (and frogs!) along with and article about how to eat it. We would love your feedbacks.
https://blog.zenkit.com/how-to-eat-that-frog-2c9f0765237a

Posted by Richard Glass  | May 20, 2014 at 2:45PM | Reply

O.K. I’m a retired guy but I’ve struggled with time management and efficiency all of my life. [I’m mildly ADD] I’m intrigued by your stuff. So much so, I bought your program for my iPhone 5S. Now I’m wondering where do I start because there doesn’t seem to be much direction with Omnifocus. I’ve used a lot of different paper systems, lists and PC list maker things. Some suggestions please. Frog book looks like a good place to start – others?

Posted by Zachary Sexton  | May 20, 2014 at 10:25PM

Hey Richard. I’d love to help. What program did you buy?

As someone who is also mildly ADD, I’d actually start with Getting Things Done by David Allen. His task management system changed my life dramatically. I feel much more in control, get more done and have less stress when I use the system. OmniFocus was actually built because the software developer was introduced to GTD while fighting cancer .

Posted by Sylvia Stagg  | March 24, 2012 at 6:45AM | Reply

I enjoy all your articles. They are so clear and easy to comprehend. Looking forward for more. Thank you.

Posted by Raj Sangaran  | March 22, 2012 at 12:06PM | Reply

Most interesting blogs/ feedback from AE, which I am able to apply in both home and business matters in certain instances. Please keep them coming.

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