After my 2015 Goals post, where I committed to understanding and slaying my incredible ability to dilly dally, Carrie from Making Lemonade suggested that I read the book Eat That Frog: 21 Great ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. It’s the kind of book you can pick up and read in short bursts, which you may do because you will want to put it down and get to work on whatever task is hanging over you head at that moment.
The book is “focused on increasing your overall levels of productivity, performance, and output and on making you more valuable in whatever you do.” Sounds good, right?
The author presents 21 ways to achieve that goal, with an exercise that will help you practice that method at the end of each chapter.
The frog is that thing on your task list that you really don’t want to do. It’s something that’s high priority but either difficult or time-consuming or boring or for whatever reason, it’s something you don’t want to do — like eating a frog. The author suggests eating that frog first thing in the morning. Not only will you get it done, but you will have a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to get other things done.
To test the book’s methods, I resolved to eat a frog the next day, and employed a few more of the author’s techniques for time management, like writing down my daily goals and prioritizing them.
I started the day by opening up my laptop and not reading my email! It took a lot of willpower to dig in to my first project of the day without doing that one small activity, which contributes the most to stealing my time away. (If you haven’t already done this quick, 5-minute fix to streamline your email, you should eat this frog right now, and save yourself tons of time and money in the long run).
Did it work?
You betcha. When I got my gnarliest project done in less than two hours, before 11 in the morning, it was an incredible confidence boost. It was my most productive day all week.
When the weekend rolled around, I even employed the frog-eating philosophy to my weekend chores. After feeding the kids, I went straight to the grocery store: The task I dreaded the most, because we were expecting a snow storm the next day. The result? A well-stocked store with short checkout lines, and starting off the morning with the worst of the tasks already accomplished.
I haven’t even finished the book and I’m already benefiting from it. But, don’t take my word for it … go ahead and reserve it from your local library or add it to your Amazon wishlist.
What’s your best tip to increase your productivity?