The recipe to prepare and eat frogs
Eating frogs is good to improve your productivity. While frog legs can be tasty when prepared well, I am going to talk about eating a different kind of frog today. The phenomenon of eating frogs is actually used when referring to doing the task you are most fearful of or dreading the most. With December around the corner and lots of social events, we could probably all use some higher productivity to get things done in less time. In Eat that Frog!, Brian Tracy describes several tips and tricks on how to improve your productivity. Here are the most remarkable and useful principles.
SIX P FORMULA
It all starts with the Six P formula: Proper prior planning prevents poor performance. In other words, planning is key. Like once said by Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. In this specific case, tasks need to be prioritized in such a way that the frog gets eaten first. Ideas and tasks can be divided into four categories:
1. Things you don’t want to do, and actually don’t need to do.
2. Things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do.
3. Things you want to do and actually need to do.
4. Things you want to do, but actually don’t need to do.
As you might have guessed, the category in which the frogs reside is things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do. According to Tracy’s theory these are the once that need to be put into action first. By completing these frogs, you will have gotten the worst tasks done and over with. The idea is that accomplishing your worst tasks will give such a feeling of fulfilment, the rest will be done a lot easier.
THINK ON PAPER
Following the principle of planning a great rule for success is to think on paper. As all good (and bad for that matter) ideas start in your head Tracy describes seven steps to make it more concrete by putting it on paper. These are:
- Decide exactly what you want,
- Write it down,
- Set a deadline on your goal: set sub deadlines if necessary,
- Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal,
- Organize the list into a plan,
- Take action on your plan immediately and work on the first task, and
- Resolve to do something every single day that moves you towards your major goal.
Personally, I like to write down my goals in notebooks that I keep on my nightstand. I have one for personal goals, like working out, eating healthy and practicing mindfulness. I also keep a second one for everything related to careerlions.com. In this last notebook I like to keep track of all my ideas for the site and break them up into actions that I can finish in approximately an hour. This last exercise of breaking up the bigger actions, is something that I still need to improve on. When planning, I am too optimistic in the sense that I think I can get more work done that I actually will. The advantages of writing down my goals are that it makes it more actionable and also gives it more accountability. On the other hand, it also can be quite confrontational (but I guess that’s actually a good thing, since we do want to achieve these goals).
MOTIVATE YOURSELF INTO ACTION
After planning and determining your goal, it is time to get into action. Nothing is more effective to achieve action than becoming your own personal cheerleader. Cheerleading yourself knows two main aspects.
1. Control your inner dialogue - Even though I realize how blessed I am with my life, there’s nothing better than complaining about the most irrelevant and insignificant things. This is a bad habit that I really need to work on myself, I need to refuse to complain about my problems. Next to this it is important to talk positively to yourself to boost self-esteem. In its turn, a good self-esteem is important to feel motivated and get things done.
2. Develop a positive mental attitude – Optimistic people with positive mental attitudes seem to be more effective in almost every area of life. Therefore, here are the four habits we can learn from these optimists.
a. Look for the good in every situation,
b. Seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty,
c. Look for the solution when encountering a problem, and
d. Think and talk continually about your goals.
The workdays are getting longer, resulting in less sleep that has always seemed to challenge me when it comes to motivation. As the end of the year is approaching and I have been travelling more, productivity has never seen more important and needed for me personally. So from today on, I will start being my own cheerleader. What are your tips to improve productivity? Let us know in the comment section below.