Eat That Frog!

Depending upon your level of knowledge and experience, these ideas may sound familiar. This book will bring them to a higher level of awareness.

Then I did something that changed my life. I began to ask successful people what they were doing that enabled them to be more productive and earn more money than me. And they told me. I did what they advised me to do, and my sales went up. Eventually, I became so successful that I was made a sales manager. As a sales manager, I used the same strategy. I asked successful managers what they did to achieve such great results, and when they told me, I did it myself. In no time at all, I began to get the same results they did.

The ability to concentrate singlemindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.

The key to success is action.

The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

Continually remind yourself that one of the most important decisions you make each day is what you will do immediately and what you will do later, if you do it at all.

Here is one of the most important of the so-called secrets of success. You can actually develop a "positive addiction" to endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence, and competence that they trigger. When you develop this addiction, you will, at an unconscious level, begin to organize your life in such a way that you are continually starting and completing ever more important tasks and projects. You will actually become addicted, in a very positive sense, to success and contribution.

You remember the story of the man who stops a musician on a street in New York and asks how he can get to Carnegie Hall. The musician replies, "Practice, man, practice."

Your mental picture of yourself has a powerful effect on your behavior. Visualize yourself as the person you intend to be in the future. Your self-image, the way you see yourself on the inside, largely determines your performance on the outside.

There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it. NAPOLEON HILL

One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.

Step three: Set a deadline on your goal; set subdeadlines if necessary. A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency.

Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. As you think of new activities, add them to your list.

Take action on your plan immediately. Do something. Do anything. An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done. For you to achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.

Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal. Build this activity into your daily schedule.

Whatever it is, you must never miss a day.

Keep pushing forward. Once you start moving, keep moving. Don't stop.

Always work from a list. When something new comes up, add it to the list before you do it. You can increase your productivity and output by 25 percent or more—about two hours a day—from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.

Make your list the night before for the workday ahead. Move everything that you have not yet accomplished onto your list for the coming day, and then add everything that you have to do the next day.

When you make your list the night before, your subconscious mind will work on your list all night long while you sleep. Often you will wake up with great ideas and insights that you can use to get your job done faster and better than you had initially thought.

When you have a project of any kind, begin by making a list of every step that you will have to complete to finish the project from beginning to end. Organize the steps by priority and sequence. Lay out the project in front of you on paper or on a computer so that you can see every step and task.

As you work through your lists, you will feel more and more effective and powerful.

Resist the temptation to clear up small things first.

The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place.

Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University, after more than fifty years of research, concluded that "long-time perspective" is the most accurate single predictor of upward social and economic mobility in America. Long-time perspective turns out to be more important than family background, education, race, intelligence, connections, or virtually any other single factor in determining your success in life and at work.

Rule: Long-term thinking improves short-term decision making.

Successful people have a clear future orientation. They think five, ten, and twenty years out into the future.

They analyze their choices and behaviors in the present to make sure that what they are doing today is consistent with the long-term future that they desire.

Before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself, "What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?"

Successful people are those who are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, think more about short-term pleasure and immediate gratification while giving little thought to the long-term future.

"Losers try to escape from their fears and drudgery with activities that are tension-relieving. Winners are motivated by their desires toward activities that are goal-achieving."

If a task or activity has large potential positive consequences, make it a top priority and get started on it immediately. If something can have large potential negative consequences if it is not done quickly and well, that becomes a top priority as well. Whatever your frog is, resolve to gulp it down first thing.

Motivation requires motive.

The time is going to pass anyway. The only question is how you use it and where you are going to end up at the end

The law of Forced Efficiency says that "There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing."

What this means is that you will never be caught up. Get that wishful idea out of your mind. All you can hope for is to be on top of your most important responsibilities. The others will just have to wait.

Many people say that they work better under the pressure of deadlines. Unfortunately, years of research indicate that this is seldom true. Under the pressure of deadlines, often self-created through procrastination, people suffer greater stress, make more mistakes, and have to redo more tasks than under any other conditions.

Deadlines Are an Excuse

It is much better to plan your time carefully in advance and then build in a sizable buffer to compensate for unexpected delays and diversions.

What are your highest-value activities? First, think this through for yourself. Then, ask your boss. Ask your coworkers and subordinates. Ask your friends and family.

The second question you can ask continually is, "What can I and only I do that if done well will make a real difference?"

This is something that only you can do. If you don't do it, it won't be done by someone else.

Your job is to ask yourself this question, over and over again, and to always be working on the answer to it, whatever it is.

Do first things first and second things not at all.

To set proper priorities, you must set posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and sooner, while a posteriority is something that you do less of and later, if at all.

Rule: You can get your time and your life under control only to the degree to which you discontinue lower-value

One of the most powerful of all words in time management is the word no! Say it politely. Say it clearly so that there are no misunderstandings. Say it regularly as a normal part of your time management vocabulary.

Say no to anything that is not a high-value use of your time and your life. Say no graciously but firmly to avoid agreeing to something against your will. Say it early and say it often. Remember that you have no spare time.

For you to do something new, you must complete or stop doing something old. Getting in requires getting out. Picking up means putting down.

Your job is to deliberately procrastinate on tasks that are of low value so that you have more time for tasks that can make a big difference in your life and work.

Set Posteriorities on Time-Consuming Activities

Continually review your life and work to find time-consuming tasks and activities that you can abandon. Cut down on television watching and instead spend the time with your family, read, exercise, or do something else that enhances the quality of your life.

Practice "zero-based thinking" in every part of your life. Ask yourself continually, "If I were not doing this already, knowing what I now know, would I start doing it again today?" If it is something you would not start again today, knowing what you now know, it is a prime candidate for abandonment or creative procrastination.

Examine each of your personal and work activities and evaluate it based on your current situation. Select at least one activity to abandon immediately

The first law of success is concentration—to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left. WILLIAM MATHEWS

A "C" task is defined as something that would be nice to do but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not. C tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker, and comcompleting some personal business during work hours.

"Why am I on the payroll?"

if you are not crystal clear about why you are on the payroll and what results you have been hired to accomplish, it is very hard for you to perform at your best, get paid more, and get promoted faster.

Once you have determined your key result areas, the second step is for you to grade yourself on a scale of one to ten (with one being the lowest and ten being the highest) in each of those areas. Where are you strong and where are you weak? Where are you getting excellent results and where are you underperforming?

Rule: Your weakest key result area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.

the better you become in a particular skill area, the more motivated you will be to perform that function, the less you will procrastinate, and the more determined you will be to get the job finished.

The fact is that everybody has both strengths and weaknesses. Refuse to rationalize, justify, or defend your areas of weakness. Instead, identify them clearly.

Just think! You may be only one critical skill away from top performance at your job.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. THEODORE ROOSEVELT

It is amazing how many books never get written, how many degrees never get completed, how many life-changing tasks never get started because people fail to take the first step of preparing everything in advance.

Select any goal, task, or project in your life on which you have been procrastinating and make a list of all the steps you will need to take to eventually complete the task. 2. Then take just one step immediately.

Remember, however good you are today, your knowledge and skills are becoming obsolete at a rapid rate. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach, said, "Anytime you stop striving to get better, you're bound to get worse."

When you know that you can do a job well, you find it easier to overcome procrastination and get the job done faster and better than under any other circumstances.

First, read in your field for at least one hour every day. Get up a little earlier in the morning and read for thirty to sixty minutes in a book or magazine that contains information that can help you to be more effective and productive at what you do.

The more you learn, the more you can learn.

Just as you can build your physical muscles through physical exercise, you can build your mental muscles with mental exercises. And there is no limit to how far or how fast you can advance except for the limits you place on your own imagination.

Become a lifelong student of your craft. School is never out for the professional.

Take stock of your unique talents and abilities on a regular basis. What is it that you do especially well? What are you good at? What do you do easily and well that is difficult for other people? Looking back at your career, what has been most responsible for your success in life and work to date?

Determine the one constraint, internal or external, that sets the speed at which you accomplish this goal. Ask, "Why haven't I reached it already? What is it in me that is holding me back?" Whatever your answers, take action immediately. Do something. Do anything, but get started.

The world is full of people who are waiting for someone to come along and motivate them to be the kind of people they wish they could be. The problem is that no one is coming to the rescue.

These people are waiting for a bus on a street where no buses pass. If they don't take charge of their lives and put the pressure on themselves, they can end up waiting forever. And that is what most people do.

Only about 2 percent of people can work entirely without supervision. We call these people "leaders."

See yourself as a role model for others. Raise the bar on yourself. The standards you set for your own work and behavior should be higher than anyone else could set for you.

Make it a game with yourself to start a little earlier, work a little harder, and stay a little later. Always look for ways to go the extra mile, to do more than you are paid for.

Imagine each day that you have just received an emergency message and that you will have to leave town tomorrow for a month. If you had to leave town for a month, what would you make absolutely sure that you got done before you left? Whatever your answer, go to work on that task right now.

Successful people continually put the pressure on themselves to perform at high levels. Unsuccessful people have to be instructed and supervised and pressured by others.

Write out every step of a major job or project before you begin. Determine how many minutes and hours you will require to complete each phase. Then race against your own clock. Beat your own deadlines. Make it a game and resolve to win!

Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor. JOHN HAGGAI

There are specific times during the day when you are at your best. You need to identify these times and discipline yourself to use them on your most important and challenging tasks.

In addition to getting lots of rest, to keep your energy levels at their highest, be careful about what you eat. Start the day with a high-protein, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate breakfast. Eat salads with fish or chicken at lunch. Avoid sugar, salt, white-flour products, and desserts. Avoid soft drinks, candy bars, and pastries. Feed yourself as you would feed a world-class athlete before a competition because in many respects, that's what you are before starting work each day.

High energy levels are indispensable to higher levels of productivity, more happiness, and greater success in everything you do.

asking the following questions: What am I doing physically that I should do more of? What am I doing that I should do less of? What am I not doing that I should start doing if I want to perform at my best? What am I doing today that affects my health that I should stop doing altogether?

To keep yourself motivated, you must resolve to become a complete optimist. You must decide to respond positively to the words, actions, and reactions of the people and situations around you. You must refuse to let the unavoidable difficulties and setbacks of daily life affect your mood or emotions.

You should talk to yourself positively all the time to boost your self-esteem. Say things like "I like myself! I like myself!" over and over until you begin to believe it and behave like a person with a high-performance personality.

Refuse to complain about your problems. Keep them to yourself.

As speaker-humorist Ed Foreman says, "You should never share your problems with others because 80 percent of people don't care about them anyway, and the other 20 percent are kind of glad that you've got them in the first place."

optimists always seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty. They believe that "difficulties come not to obstruct but to instruct." They believe that each setback or obstacle contains a valuable lesson they can learn and grow from, and they are determined to find it.

optimists always look for the solution to every problem. Instead of blaming or complaining when things go wrong, they become action oriented. They ask questions like "What's the solution? What can we do now? What's the next step?"

optimists think and talk continually about their goals. They think about what they want and how to get it. They think and talk about the future and where they are going rather than the past and where they came from. They are always looking forward rather than backward.

Control your thoughts. Remember, you become what you think about most of the time.

Resolve to make progress rather than excuses.

The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act. ORISON SWETT MARDEN

Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. NAPOLEON HILL

Perhaps the most outwardly identifiable quality of high-performing men and women is action orientation. They are in a hurry to get their key tasks completed.

Highly productive people take the time to think, plan, and set priorities. They then launch quickly and strongly toward their goals and objectives. They work steadily, smoothly, and continuously. As a result, they seem to power through enormous amounts of work in the same amount of time that the average person spends socializing, wasting time, and working on low-value activities.

A fast tempo seems to go hand in hand with all great success.

Do It Now!

One of the simplest and yet most powerful ways to get yourself started is to repeat the words "Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!" over and over to yourself.

If you feel yourself slowing down or becoming distracted by conversations or low-value activities, repeat to yourself the words "Back to work! Back to work! Back to work!" over and over.

And herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and concentrate them, at any given moment, upon a given point. JAMES ALLEN

Each time you return to the task, you have to familiarize yourself with where you were when you stopped and what you still have to do. You have to overcome inertia and get yourself going again. You have to develop momentum and get into a productive work rhythm.

The truth is that once you have decided on your number one task, anything else that you do other than that is a relative waste of time.

defined self-discipline as "the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."