1-Sentence-Summary: Eat That Frog provides 21 techniques and strategies to stop procrastinating and get more done.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
At 71 years old, Brian Tracy has built a massive personal brand with over 2.5 million followers across all platforms, mostly by writing dozens of books on personal development.
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is his most popular one, outlining 21 simple steps that amount to a complete productivity system. Here they are:
- Set the Table
- Plan Each Day in Advance
- Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything
- Consider the Consequences
- Apply Creative Procrastination
- Use the ABCDE Method
- Focus On Key Result Areas
- Apply The Law Of Three
- Prepare Thoroughly Before You Begin
- Take It One Step at a Time
- Upgrade Your Key Skills
- Leverage Your Special Talents
- Identify Your Key Constraints
- Apply Pressure On Yourself
- Maximize Your Personal Powers
- Motivate Yourself Into Action
- Stop Technological Time Drain
- Slice And Dice The Task
- Create Large Chunks Of Time
- Develop A Sense Of Urgency
- Single-Handle Every Task
In this summary, we’ll specifically focus on steps 5, 12/13, and 19, and cover those in more detail:
- Make use of your unproductive time.
- Know yourself.
- Make appointments with yourself.
Are you with me? Let’s go!
Lesson 1: Make use of your unproductive time.
The summary said that the average driver spends 500 to 1,000 hours on the road each year. Holy moly!
Even if you’re not driving, chances are you still spend quite some time commuting. The world average commute is 40 minutes (that’s one-way), which means we spend an entire year of our life going back and forth between work and home.
That’s why Brian suggests to make use of this time, for example by listening to audio books, programs or language tapes.
Extend this idea, and you’ll soon find yourself taking notes while waiting in line, reading when you’re waiting for someone you’re meeting and learning Spanish while doing the dishes.
Just like the commute, these little bits of learning add up, and amount to quite a lot.
However, I’d like to take it one step further than Brian and say this: Eliminate recurring unproductive time altogether, wherever possible.
A commute has been shown to be one of the biggest destroyers of our happiness, so if you can, move closer to your work, work from home, or try to get at least one home office day per week.
Lesson 2: Know yourself.
Know thyself. The ancient Greek phrase has been attributed to many sources, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Nowadays the talk is all about self-awareness, meaning you know what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at.
Related to this is your time of day where you’re most productive. Maybe you are super focused in the morning (your circadian rhythm says yes), but some are night owls.
Extend this idea to all areas of your life, especially the ones that make your body function, like sleep, exercise and diet, and you’ll soon know all the basics you have to take care of to be productive.
Feeling healthy and fit is one of the biggest determinants of your confidence, which will in turn make you more optimistic. The summary says 95% of our emotions result from the way we talk to ourselves, so you better be nice to yourself.
The book even talks about skills and knowing your special talent, which makes you valuable to others, so this idea will help you beyond productivity to lead a successful life.
Lesson 3: Make appointments with yourself.
In the time management section, Brian Tracy recommends blocking your time in chunks and putting it on the calendar.
I can personally vouch for this, as I have talked about scheduling your dream before. For me, I block out time to write and time to coach each day.
Here come’s the important part though: Use this to work on personal goals.
Charlie made $20 as a young lawyer back in the day, and wondered who his most important client was. He decided it was himself, so he decided to “spend” $20 bucks each day and sell himself an hour.
Yes, he missed out on $20, but he now had 60 minutes each day to work on real estate deals, construction projects, i.e. the things that eventually made him a billionaire.
So pick a passion project, mine right now is this very website, sell yourself an hour, and work on it a little bit every day.
“Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts…slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.”
Who said that?
Eat That Frog Review
Back when this book was originally published in 2001, it was a gold mine of valuable tips. Now, these are often considered standard practice, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable.
Eat That Frog is still a great introductory read for new researchers of productivity. I found the statistics and studies quoted in it very interesting – these were all new to me. I suggest you go straight for the book, since it’s only around 120 pages long.
Who would I recommend the Eat That Frog summary to?
The 17 year old high schooler, who wants to learn the things school doesn’t teach, the 35 year old Mum, who hasn’t been told that her apple pie recipe might need a little cinnamon, and keeps doing it the same way, and anyone who has a commute.