Review: Eat That Frog!

Review: Eat That Frog!

I am a fan of productivity tips. The book I am going to review here, “Eat That Frog” by Bryan Tracy, was recommended to me by the same person I mentioned in the Work Week Manifesto. She was a stickler for time and getting as much done in the day as possible, so of course I had to read it when she told me about it.

This book has all kinds of great advice that surrounds beating procrastination. We all procrastinate, and it sucks. Admittedly, I am a lot better than years ago when I felt like I couldn’t get anything done. Now I don’t procrastinate as much, mostly because I’ve gathered all of these good tips and techniques for working through it and a lot of it is in this book. Tracy comes up with something I like and it’s the the concept of the 5Ps, or “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” I know some high performers who lay out what they’re going to accomplish every morning, and I think it works for them. I have started planning my day out both not only what I want to accomplish, and by what priority those are, as well as blocking off time on my calendar to do it. I try to be as clear and concise in my daily goals so it’s easier to get them done and I add the 20% extra that Tracy recommends so I don’t underestimate how long it will take. Furthermore, if it’s really low priority, meaning there are no consequences of not doing it, I just drop it off my list altogether.

Another important advice is to concentrate on your goals. This will give you more relief from your tensions as opposed to other activities meant to “relax”. Good long term planning will lead to short term success. You should also understand the value you create and realize that quality time at work equates to quantity of time at home. This quality time is increased when you start a task and work until it’s completed. This is the same as finding stopping points for longer tasks and breaking them down into smaller components, something I like to call “eating the whale”. He also states that we only have a finite amount of energy in the day, and the longer we work the less quality of our work will be. You may remember me mentioning that in Kahneman’s work as well.

Other important ideas I liked include forming a “compulsion to complete”, which is working hard on finishing tasks. This couples with a concept I like called flow, where real deep work can occur. I am a fan of all the things Tracy recommends in his book. If I were to summarize it for you, it’s getting things done by removing the unnecessary items, keeping an energy level high enough so you can complete it, and then seeing it through to the end.

I liked this book better than “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, which is more just a way to organize your work. I think all of us are organized people, or will be when we fail to get something done. But working past procrastination is an imperative. It is important to realize that procrastination can stem from anxiety, but if you get all of your planning done and preparation out of the way, you can reduce that anxiety and complete your tasks. This all leads to a happier, more productive life.