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We’ve all got that one thing to do we’ve been putting off.
That dreaded mammoth of a task that feels like it could suck the life out of you. But you know if you just did it, your world would become a whole lot easier. What’s yours at the moment?
I recently procrastinated from my mammoth task to read Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog.
The premise of the book is best summed up by this pearl of a quote from Mark Twain:
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
The concept is simple. To increase productivity at work, do the most important and perhaps most daunting task first thing in the morning.
Once you’ve wolfed down that fat, slimy beast, all the other frogs will feel like fine french cuisine and you’ll be cruising the rest of the day.
For the benefit of you guys, I’ve pulled out the main productivity ideas of the book. Enjoy.
1 Plan Every Day In Advance
As the old adage goes, ‘If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail.’
Spending 10 minutes planning the evening before can seriously increase productivity at work, saving you 1-2 hours in execution the following day.
It also provides you with a game plan and motivation to hit the ground running.
2 The ABCDE Method
I love this simple but pristine piece of productivity advice and I’ve really seen benefits since applying it.
When deciding on which tasks you need to prioritize (and which is the first frog you need to eat) then adopt the ABCDE method.
Put your tasks into the following categories:
An ‘A’ item is something you deem very important. It’s something you must do otherwise you’ll face serious consequences.
This might be producing a report for your boss or visiting a key customer.
If you have more than one A item then you can prioritize them A1, A2, A3, and so on.
A ‘B’ item is something you should do but it only has mild consequences if you don’t do it. Returning an unimportant phone call or reviewing your email might be B tasks.
A ‘C’ item is just something that’d be nice to do. Like agreeing to lunch with a coworker and setting up a date and time.
A ‘D’ item is something you can delegate.
An ‘E’ item is something you can eliminate as it won’t really make a difference. Get good at eliminating unneccessary tasks.
Start applying the ABCDE method and you’ll double your productivity.
3 Apply The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) is the idea that just 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results.
20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales.
20 percent of your products/services will account for 80 percent of your profits.
20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do.
It’s essential to take stock of what you’re doing and analyse which activities are giving you the most return.
To increase productivity at work, try and double down on these and focus less on the others.
Applying These 3 Principles
Just think, if you apply these three principles you could be just like the guy above, smugly sipping coffee while looking mildly suggestive, shouting across the office, “Hey I’ve got great hair and I’ve got all my sh*t done for the day.”
Start by analysing where your efforts are giving you the most rewards and prioritize your time towards them.
Split up your tasks into A, B, C, D and E categories and then A1, A2, A3 etc. if necessary.
Wake up tomorrow feeling motivated.
Eat that frog. Go home.
(Check out more of our productivity-inspired articles here.)