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Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy - Book Notes, Summary, Review

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy - Book Notes, Summary, Review - Cover Image

Published: April 02, 2021

Reading Time: 7 min

Book-Notes

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Eat That Frog is all about doing that one thing, the thing that provides you with the most value in the long-term. If you can Eat That Frog first thing in the morning before anything else, you’ve set yourself up for success.

Many of you will have heard of this concept before but if you’re like me you may not have read the original source.

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Who Should Read This Book?

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to figure out the most important things they should be working on. The tasks or projects that will provide value to your life.

Working day to day in a putting out fires type of mindset means that we rarely focus on those big picture things that would be beneficial to us in the long run.

If you’re familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix, it’s like working only in Quadrant 1 - Urgent + Important and ignoring Quadrant 2 - Not Urgent but Important.

This book provides lots of actionable tips and advice for not only determining your one thing or “your frog” as the book refers to, but also how to take steps to work on it to completion.


How This Book Changed Me

Having read a number of similar types of books recently, there wasn’t anything completely new to me here.

With that said, hearing about the concept of “eating the frog” in lots of other books motivated me to read the original book on the topic.

I’m glad I did as it provided some additional clarity around the concept plus some additional advice for making this practice a habit.

The main thing I am taking away from this book is the idea that productivity and task management are simply tools that allow us to get our most important work done. Once that’s done, we can spend time doing the things that we enjoy like spending time with family and friends or pursuing a hobby.


My Top 3 Quotes That Resonated With Me

“Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

“You must never forget that your ultimate goal is to live a long, happy, and healthy life.” p49

“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 p80


Book Notes

Eat That Frog

  • Being able to focus completely on a task until completion is the key to success.
  • Determining a clear list of priorities goes a long way to actually getting the work done.

“Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

  • The frog is your most important task. The one that you are most likely to procrastinate on but will also have the greatest impact in the long-term.
  • Creating the habit of “eating the frog” requires practice and repetition in order to turn it into an automatic habit we do without thinking.
  • There are 3 qualities you need to have to develop your ability to consistently eat the frog:
    • Decision - You need to decide that you will work on a task until it’s completed
    • Discipline - You need to practice repeatedly until the behavior becomes automatic
    • Determination - Be determined to keep going until you’ve made the habit part of your life
  • Visualize yourself as the person who gets important tasks done. How you see yourself can have a positive impact on your behavior.

Set The Table

  • To overcome procrastination you need to clarify your work and the steps to achieve each task.
  • This ties in with the procrastination triggers mentioned in The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey.
  • Tasks that are unclear or poorly defined are easy to procrastinate on.
  • Document your tasks. Write them down to get them out of your head. Once they are written down you can refer back to them or refine them.

“An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done.” p20

  • Do something every day that moves you towards your goal. Make it a part of your daily routine.

Plan Every Day In Advance

“Your mind, your ability to think, plan, and decide, is your most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity.” p23

  • Planning is important. Every minute spent planning saves about 10 minutes in execution.
    • By having a clear plan in place, you can easily start work and get momentum.
    • You also don’t have to decide what to work on, it should already be laid out in front of you if you’ve planned your day in advance.

Apply The 80/20 Rule To Everything

  • Reference to the Pareto Principle here
  • If you have a list of 10 tasks, 2 of them will be worth more value than the other 8 combined.
  • Use the 80/20 principle to find the most important + valuable thing i.e the frog you should eat first.

Consider The Consequences

“Before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself, “What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?”” p30

  • Considering the consequences of doing or not doing something can influence what you decide to work on.
  • The most successful people work on the tasks that will provide the most value in the long-term, i.e. working towards goals rather than putting out fires each day.

“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.”” p32

“What can I and only I do that if done well will make a real difference?” p33

“What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” p34

Practice Creative Procrastination

  • We all procrastinate. The difference lies in what you choose to procrastinate on.
  • Saying no to things is allowed. Make time for your most important work and eliminate unnecessary things.
  • During your weekly/quarterly/yearly reviews ask yourself what things you should stop doing. This will help you to eliminate unnecessary things from your list.

Apply The Law Of Three

“You must never forget that your ultimate goal is to live a long, happy, and healthy life.” p49

  • Time management skills allow you to get your most important work done so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.
  • Don’t lose sight of the things that motivate you to work hard.

Leverage Your Special Talents

  • Keep a list of your unique skills and abilities.
    • What is it that you do really well?
    • What’s the thing that people look to you for?
    • What do you do easily that others find difficult?

Slice And Dice The Task

“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 p80

  • Mentally it’s easier to work on a small task than a larger project.

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