Eat That Frog

Eat-the-FrogTime Management – My Own Style

Have you ever wondered how you can be wiser with your time and accomplish more than ever before? Whether you’re a jobseeker, an employer, a recruiter or currently employed, if your answer is YES, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’d like to share one of the techniques that has helped me become more organised.  I am fairly busy person and I am happiest when there is a lot on in life.  Whether it’s running the business, running the household, running the girls around or literally running with my husband, the technique I’ve been sticking to for over 10 years now is quite simple — I eat a frog each and every morning.

If it’s the first time you’ve heard someone say they ‘eat a frog’ each morning, then you’re probably thinking ‘Ewwwww…’  It’s a common reaction.  The ‘Eat that frog’ philosophy, well documented by Author Brian Tracy, simply advocates that you should first ‘eat’ or finish the most important or most difficult task each day. Once done, anything that follows ought to be a breeze.

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

Mark Twain

I’ve read the Brian Tracy book a few times and I also have it on audio and enjoy being reminded every now and then on how to improve my time management and reduce procrastination.  I’ve found that when I follow the process, I’m able to take a deep breath and get through the day more energised and less stressed and I definitely get more done.  The added bonus is that it so much easier to finish all the others tasks that I have for the day.

Of course, apart from eating my frog each morning, I also use a modified version of the ABCDE method Brian speaks about in the book.  The ABCDE method organises the tasks that you have for each day according to priority.  So on the night or morning before the start of the day, make a list of everything you need to do.

I personally find writing down tasks on my A5 notebook much more convenient and effective than using electronic devices, so while I’ve given the electronics a go, I rely on my trusty traditional method with pen and paper.   Whatever your preference, the most important thing to remember is that the list should be prepared before you start your day.  Once you’ve got your list done, simply label each task according to its importance.

  • A – The most important task, where there are serious consequences if you do or don’t do it. This is your frog.
  • B – Tasks that carry mild consequences, these are the ‘tadpoles’ in your life like checking on your email, or returning a non-urgent call.  These are mildly important to do daily, but with less serious consequences.
  • C – Tasks that don’t carry any consequences at all.  Surprisingly, most people spend at least 50% of their time on these tasks and end up accomplishing a lot less.
  • D – Tasks that can be delegated to others.
  • E – Tasks that can be eliminated – remove from your list.

If you have multiple A tasks, simply label them as A1, A2, A3 and so on.  Tackle the most important first such as A1 and finish each task that comes after it.

I mentioned above that I use a modified version of the ABCDE method, which I cut down to just ABC:

  • A – Must do today
  • B – Would be nice to do today
  • C – Doesn’t matter if I don’t do today

I got rid of the D and E tasks a few years ago, as I tend to now delegate on the fly and I don’t have any E tasks make my list (most of the time).

I am diligent in the use of my to-do list daily and while I’d love to say I’m perfect, I am anything but!  I don’t always label the items with an ABC and I can assure you that when I don’t, you can guarantee that I end up shifting tasks to another day.  However, it’s quite uncanny that when I look back through my book at the completed tasks, there is always significantly more achieved on the days when I take the time to label each task with an ABC

According to Brian Tracey, if you try eating your frog first with the ABCDE method, you’ll double your productivity the first day you try it.  The keys to success in using these methods are discipline, will power, and mental strength.  In the end, it’s not about managing time, but really about managing yourself.

Try it for just one day, you’ll be shocked at how much more you get done.


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Yasmin Grigaliunas

Yasmin is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Yasmin's passion for helping others coupled with her desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead her to create School Hours Pty Ltd with her husband Leigh.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
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